I occasionally fed ducks at St. Louis County's Lone Elk Park, tossing bits of bread into the lake (it was over 40 years ago, before I knew better) to watch the ducks and large catfish contend for them.

One Mallard hen was smarter than the rest--instead of scarfing the bread immediately, she'd nudge it with her bill away from the rest of the flock, then jiggle it to attract baby sunfish. When they came to nibble, she'd grab one, head for shore, and do pretty much what Terry described. Then she'd return to the water and wait for me to provide the next piece of bait.

I observed this repeatedly over the next year or two, reasonably sure it was the same duck, as she'd head for the same spot when she recognized me, and wait for me to do my part. My opinion of ducks underwent a significant elevation!

Lanny Chambers
Fenton, MO

On Mar 10, 2019, at 19:48, Terry McNeely <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The most interesting thing was a Mallard eating a fish.  I watched the male Mallard bring up a small fish from the water and hop up onto the ice. The fish appeared to be a perch about 5 inches long. The duck worked the fish around in it's bill, dropped it on the ice and picked it up again and repeated the process again and again. It appeared like it was descaling the fish. After about 10 minutes it picked up the fish and worked it around and head first, swallowed it whole.


The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
Archives / Subscription options / ASM Website / Email the list owners

ABA Birding Code of Ethics

ASM Spring Meeting: May 3-5, 2019 at Bunker Hill Retreat near Mountain View, MO Details and Online Registration