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Learning at The Field Museum: How to identify a female duck

November 22, 2011

My Life as a Science Promoter on November 21, 2011

(Day #325 of the year)

The world population today is 7,004,578,596


Learning science in Chicago

Which is the male and which is the female duck? My adventure today at The Field Museum in Chicago provided the answer. Everyday at the museum there are free tours of the exhibits given by volunteer experts in specific fields. There was a choice between Birds, Sue the TRex, Museum Highlights, and Plants. I chose the Birds tour.

As we approached the North American Birds area, Wayne (our tour guide), filled us in on some of the basics of The Field Museum, most impressively:

The Field Museum holds the 4th largest collection of birds in the world

We also learned that female ducks raise their young in nests on the ground near water. Now think of the ground: dirt, dead leaves, sticks, and rocks–brown and gray colors. This is the beautiful part of evolution; female ducks have evolved to blend with the color of the ground, minimizing the chances they’d be seen by a predator. Males on the other hand, use colors to pick up women. The more colorful, the more likely they’ll mate.

So, when you see a pair of ducks in the future, the colorful duck is the male, and the female duck doesn’t want you to notice it. Which are the male & female ducks below (pics taken from my phone, hence poor quality):

Science in Chicago

My Life as a Science Promoter

I hope you learned something new. Thanks for reading, stay nerdy, and letUbeU!

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