Science and off-color humor often go hand-in-hand. Ya ever notice that?
Earlier in the summer, I discovered something in my duck pond. It had been 3 weeks since the last cleaning, so the thing was between 1-day and 3-weeks old. The best way I can describe it, was like some sort of disembodied bladder or something. It was so curious and unidentifiable; I had to call a friend over to examine it with me. It was clearly some sort of internal living tissue at some point, but where did it come from? What was it? It wasn’t otherworldly, but rather oddly internal.
I was mildly troubled by it and only a little less so a couple of weeks later when I found a second one.
This morning, I was delightfully fascinated to discover the article “For ducks, penis length depends on the other guys,” from Science News. The main focus of the article is that the size of ducks’ male organs are determined by the amount of competing males within their badelynge, That is interesting, but not surprising as many animals have interesting breeding strategies (well, I have to admit I was surprised to learn that the Ruddy Duck can have a nearly 10-inch penis!).
What really fascinated me was the first sentence “A drake’s penis substantially wastes away at the end of one breeding season and then regrows as the next season begins.”
What? Whoa! Dude! Is that what you dropped in my pond?
What I found did not look exactly like the picture on Science News, but it was pretty similar. Keeping in mind that the organ I found floated in a duck pond for a while and was fished out with a stick, as compared to the scientist’s sample that was surgically removed from a drake carcass, I feel relatively certain that that’s what I found.
So don’t be surprised if you’re cleaning your duck pond at the end of the breeding season and find your Wood Duck has lost his..umm..wood. He’ll get it back next year.