The more I learn about ducks, the more I'm completely fascinated by them—and the more, truly, that I enjoy hunting them. Take this list of 53 amazing duck facts compiled by Ducks Unlimited. All are fascinating and, in fact, some sound like downright lies. Here are five examples:
1. Ducks' field of vision is nearly 340 degrees
They see almost everything above, below and to either side of them. Remember this as a handy excuse next time you flare them.
2. A Nevada jet struck a mallard at 21,000 feet.
21,000 feet! Ducks usually migrate at an altitude of 200 to 4,000 feet. So, if you want to lure migrators I recommend a visible spread. Good luck being heard with even the loudest hail calling.
3. With a 50 mph tailwind, mallards are known to migrate 800 miles in eight hours.
Do the math: That means the greenheads are capable of maintaining a speed of 100 mph for an entire work shift. That's why duck hunting can improve literally overnight, provided an incoming cold front and a north wind. On average, waterfowl migrate at 40-60 mph depending on species.
4. A clutch of ruddy duck eggs can weigh more than the hen that laid them.
Talk about an arduous delivery. No wonder the nutritional requirements of nesting hens is so great. Hen wood ducks, for instance, must consume a whopping 75 grams of invertebrates per egg.
5. Mallards are known to crossbreed with 40 other species
Hybrids are rare in nature, but mallards don't play by the rules—even to the point of jeopardizing the genetic integrity of black ducks and other species. In captivity, a mallard even successfully bred a graylag goose. How that's genetically (or physically) possible, I do not know.