A Curious Case of Duck Identification

Once upon a time my wife walked out onto our balcony and discovered the feathers of four freshly plucked ducks blowing about in the wind. Her reaction was swift and fierce.

“Kyle get our here right now and clean up these mallard feathers.”

Perhaps I should’ve felt some regret over my lousy cleanup job. However, truly all that washed over me was pride—my wife had correctly identified mallard feathers!

I wondered if years of subtle effort to improve her duck ID skills (“hey honey, what kind of ducks are in that painting?”) had finally paid off. Could I soon, through bribery of over-priced footwear, get her to assist in my scouting efforts?

Alas, there has been a setback. On her way to work this morning she called to report “baby mallards” on a local marsh. Given the time of year, I informed her that this intel was appreciated but somewhat unlikely.

Still, my curiosity piqued, I drove to the marsh—not a duck in sight. I wonder what she saw. Redheads and bluebills are moving through on their way north with great regularity. Could it have been plain old coots? Greenwings? Their size may explain the confusion.

I welcome your theories in the comments section.

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