Today at lunchtime I took advantage of the balmy weather and went for a row on the lake. A couple of miles north of Myers and about 100 feet from shore, I came upon a duck thrashing about rather feebly on the water. It turned out to be a male Mallard and when I first rowed by, its neck appeared to be very awkwardly twisted backward over its shoulder and it was flailing around with one foot out of the water. I wondered if it was tangled in fishing line or something and decided to approach and see if I could help. I rowed right up to it, and by this time it had stopped moving. It was floating with body upright, but its head and neck were laid out backwards and to one side, so that its head was upside down in the water, crown down and throat up. No sign of entanglement. I reached down and lifted its head, and its neck was totally limp and floppy. As I lifted its head out of the water I saw that its eye was open, and as I raised its head up so its beak pointed upward it opened its mouth a bit but no sound came out. Its neck was so floppy that I had a hard time getting it back into a normal position, upright and facing forward. But I did, and just then suddenly I felt its neck muscles come to life, I slowly let go- and it held its head straight! It began to swim, slowly but in a nice straight line toward the shore. I watched it, and it watched me with that suspicious sidelong duck look, as it swam away and finally climbed out of the water onto the shore, changing course slightly to walk up behind a rock where I could no longer see it. I rowed away, not wanting to approach and stress it any more.
What had happened?? I could see no sign of injury, the bird was well-preened, floated high and dry, and looked normally plump and thoroughly duck-shaped. What had happened? I can still feel the strange sensation of holding up that absolutely limp neck, and then suddenly felt it come to life. John Greenly Ludlowville -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html 3) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --