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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Does a duck's quack echo?

This morning, checking in for a doctor's appopointment I heard the gentleman in line next to me say, "Did you know that a duck's quack doesn't echo?" He was talking to a receptionist. I turned and said, with emphasis, "What!? That's nonsense."

"No, really, a duck's quack doesn't echo."


"It's true. I read it on the Internet, a list of 28 things you probably don't know."

For sure, I did not know that.

He pulled his cell phone from a pocket and began to search for proof. 

He also told me, while he thumbed his phone, that in the chariot race scene in the movie "Ben Hur," Charton Heston, holding the reins in one of the chariots, is wearing a wrist watch. 

I left before he found his proof.

At home I saw that the duck question is Googled very often. You type in "duck quack" and Google automatically provides the word "echo."

It explains that ducks don't quack loud enough to produce an echo, and rarely are near reflecting surfaces.

In case you wondered.

Snowy Owl reports coming from Wisconsin

Snowy Owls are being reported from Wisconsin in what has been called unusual numbers for November. One was seen near Bayfield in October. Most of the birds were seen along the Lake Michigan shoreline in eastern Wisconsin.


There have been 15 sightings.


Two sightings in Minnesota and a handful from the upper peninsula of Michigan are on the list. You can an eBird map of sightings at this link:


One of the Minnesota sightings was in the metro area, the other north of Duluth along the lakeshore.


The report came from Ryan Brady, bird monitoring coordinator for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. 


Brady expects more sightings as winter progresses. He said, in a written commentary, that photos seem to show most if not all of the owls as juveniles. He said this suggests that Snowy Owls nesting in arctic Canada were successful.


These owls hunt during daylight hours. They will roost on almost anything. They like flat open land (it’s what they know), sometimes sitting on the ground, but more often on hay bales, fenceposts, telephone posts, rock piles, muskrat houses, tree snags, silos, and other structures. 


Airports are common places to find them. Almost every year these birds are seen at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport.


Snowy Owls eat almost any live thing that moves: voles, mice, lemmings, waterfowl, rabbits, muskrats, weasels, and pigeons. Other bird species are taken as well.


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