Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do ducks sleep on water?

I just love it when Austin asks me intelligent questions. (what I mean by intellegent questions is when he honestly doesn't know the answer, not like when he has seen a movie a billion time and knows it by heart, yet he still ask what is happening). Tonight when we were driving home he asked me: Do ducks sleep on water? I honestly don't know, so I told he we would look it up when we got home. Well, here is what we found, for those of you who didn't already know.

Here is the answer and here is where I found it:

Ducks generally use three types of areas: open fields (for food), a wetland near their feeding field (also for feeding, as well as washing and drinking), and a roost site (for sleeping). Roosts are found in areas where the birds feel safe and are seldom disturbed. These resting areas may be found over a mile from the feeding field. Depending on what is available, roost sites are usually medium to large ponds, or wide rivers.
To avoid predators, waterfowl are most often seen sleeping on the water, with their head turned around backwards and nestled into their feathers, to keep their unfeathered bill warm. As if sleeping on the water isn’t safe enough, ducks also have a habit of sleeping in a line where the ducks on the ends sleep with one eye open, watching for predators.
Many duck species may also be seen sleeping on land near their roosting pond, often standing on one leg with the other tucked up into its feathers. Again, this is done to stay warm.
Exceptions to these sleeping habits include the Harlequin Duck, which tend to roost on rocky shores to avoid sleeping in rough water, and Wood Ducks, who usually roost in trees. Stiff-tailed ducks, such as Ruddy Ducks, have difficulty walking on land because their legs are set far back on their body and are almost never seen sleeping out of the water. In fact, Ruddy Ducks are so comfortable sleeping in the water that, if you’re very quiet, you may see one blowing across a wavy pond!
-Darren Wiens, M.S. Candidate

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