Title: Muscovies in the oaks, Part I
created on 24 Jan 18

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Comments on this picture (19):
1. chelydra wrote:
 Around 1979, our back yard bordered on many acres of Long Island's old oak forest. The lady of the house had a habit of bringing home creatures, of which the most oprolific and peculiar were Muscovy ducks; a pair of ducklings became 13, then 90-something,
2. chelydra wrote:
 ...reproducing faster than we could eat them—they were oversexed. Adolescent girl ducks would gaze upon an eggs they came upon, entranced, clearly undergoing some kind of mystic rite of passage—the first time I saw this, I figured it was my
3. chelydra wrote:
 n, but it kept happening, always with the teenage females. Extreme "sexual dimorphism" separated the genders; all the girls became more and more lovely, gentle, wise and graceful, the boys sometimes grew into dragon-like sexual predators, with wild blood-
4. chelydra wrote:
 ....blood-red wattles sprouting off their faces, sometimes evolved into perfect gentlemen, always had distinctive individual personalities. One fire-breathing brute of a bull-duck was named Garcia, after one of the leaders of El Salvador's death squads (s
5. chelydra wrote:
 ... (so this was probably around 1981 or 82). At mating time, one of the males would select a queen-for-the-day, and have his way with her. Bizarrely, all the females would form a great circle (perfectly round, as if drawn with a compass) and fall into
6. chelydra wrote:
 ... a strange voodoo-like dance, not moving their feet, but rhythmically bobbing up and down, as the corkscrew plunged and the first cells of next year's ducks wove themselves into new strands of the Great Chain of Being that had taken over our backyard.
7. chelydra wrote:
 (I am not making any of this up. Since all our ducks were descending from two adolescents who probably hadn't been indoctrinated into any duck culture or rituals before they came to live among our goats, hens, rabbits, and feral gerbils. they must have in
8. chelydra wrote:
 ... must have invented all these traditions, or had them written deep into their genetic memories. But I never heard of anything similar happening among other groups of Muscovies or any other birds or beasts.)
9. chelydra wrote:
 I should mention (before I get to the point of all this) that despite their name, Muscovy ducks are not originally from Moscow, but Mexico. It seems their domestication and their inbreeding was far less extreme than what befell their very distant cousins,
10. chelydra wrote:
 ... the Pekin (Peking? Beijing?) ducks of China, of which a mere 8 arrived on Long Island (NY) circa 1900, and gave birth to a vast industry that stank up many villages and deposited massive layers of slime onto baybottoms around the east end of the islan
11. chelydra wrote:
 .... island. The pekins are descended from mallards, but all traces of intellect are absent and even their instincts have been severely damaged and diminished. One our female white Pekin ducks, well into a childless middle age, started taking an intense i
12. chelydra wrote:
 ... interest in the Muscovy's nesting and brooding. She wanted eggs of her own! She didn't want her own eggs, she wanted their eggs. We stole her a few (there were lots of spares) but they generally came to a bad end. More than one batch rolled into mudpu
13. chelydra wrote:
 ... mudpuddles and went cold. Finally one or two our matronly Pekin had been coddling actually hatched. What happened next was too sad and gruesome to describe. Let's just say that their adoptive mama had her heart set on setting on eggs, and she had no t
14. chelydra wrote:
 ...no tolerance for any little hooligans who vandalized her treasures. Anyway... all this is prelude to explaining the title of the picture, but now I've run of time and will need to come back to it later. Bye for now.
15. katidid wrote:
 LOL, what a great read!!!! And neat picture!
16. chelydra wrote:
 Since this picture has no ducks in it, and the story so far has no forest or snow or meteors, nor the mass uprisings of our dozens of ducks, I figure I should do a fresh picture on which to continue the story
17. chelydra wrote:
 ...Thanks for faves and comment... See you soon.
18. Normal wrote:
 Fascinating, especially the circular voodoo dance! Glad you said no ducks in pic, as I hadn't expected to see them roosting in the oaks (but who knows?) Splendid night scene.
19. winemom365 wrote:
 This is so interesting to look at and to read whats happening in it. Really noce work



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