Duck breakfast, Father’s Day

Here are two mallards (I believe these are males) from the brood of four ducklings I’ve been feeding. They’re taking oatmeal and a few Cheerios from my hand.  Note the rapid fluttering of the beak as they force the water out the sides of their mouths, keeping in the food; this behavior is called “motorboating”. In this sense they resemble baleen whales.

Note that as the ducks take in the oatmeal and expel the water, that water is cloudy from the oatmeal exudate.

The skinny from Ducks Unlimited:

Lamellae are another fascinating adaptation of the waterfowl bill. These small, comb-like structures along the inside of the bill act like sieves and look like teeth, even though ducks and geese don’t chew food. When ducks are searching for food, nonfood items such as mud and water can be expelled while seeds, bugs, or other food items are retained by the lamellae. The top part of the waterfowl bill is called the upper mandible, and the bottom part, the lower mandible. The upper mandible is affixed to the skull, but the lower mandible can move up and down. The upper and lower mandibles of most dabbling ducks have from 50 to 70 lamellae, but bluewings and greenwings may have 120 to 130 lamellae. Shovelers have about 220 lamellae on their lower mandible and 180 lamellae on their upper mandible.

Here are the mallardian lamellae, visible as the serrations on the edge of the beak



Bottom view of bill:


I’m a proud Dad!


  1. Taskin
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    That’s really interesting, I will look more closely at ducks next time.
    Happy Father’s Day.

    • Mike
      Posted June 19, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Me too,you learn something every Day.

  2. Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Hmm. What dictionary are you using? I’ve always thought of ‘motorboating’ as something different??

    • Bob Murray
      Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Dennis, I think you and I need to sit on the naughty stair!

      • Blue
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I knew this inference / this innuendo, ie, this joke – like definition, ‘dn’t just go on by.

        Even on Father’s Day and with USA’s free speech and with Dr Coyne’s rational definition thereof above, I still as I first read the word, motorboating, up above in his post here, I still knew that commenting on this particular entry could not be wholly gone through and accomplished — until this ‘other’ ‘definition’ of that word had also been stated.

        No matter that abuse, that violence, that molestation and … … that incest from brothers and from more distant relatives and, of course, from fathers as the perpetrators (onto both genders of human beings) has occurred to some of us readers / to us other commenters. This (joking – commenting / “but, Pussy, I have free speech ! You Cunt – Twat”) behavior here on this website would not occur with comments re men or boys or re races or re ideologies or re religions, even in re Islam.

        This ‘routine’ sexualizing commenting – behavior just happens only in re to human beings who are female ones. Even here on this website of Dr Coyne’s. Still.


        • Bob Murray
          Posted June 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          I’m guessing ‘Blue’ is short for blue pencil.

          • Blue
            Posted June 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            What is that, Mr Murray ? “blue pencil ?”
            as in re me or upon my name ?

            If it is (meant as) a perjorative,
            then I do know what that is
            as of Da Roolz and as of thus:


            • Bob Murray
              Posted June 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

              Have you just assumed my gender?
              The blue pencil is a reference to the censorial nature of your comment.

              • Blue
                Posted June 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

                How, Mr Murray, is any of my statement
                other than one of an observational nature ?

                as in re to the choices to, or not to,
                comment that one makes anywhere ? How ?


  3. Linda K
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Darn. I was hoping the Professor himself was eating out and taking pictures of his plate of roast duck with scalloped potatoes.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Those ducks are lucky to have you Father Jerry.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      “Father Jerry”, nice title for a British sitcom. It’s a quiet English village but there’s always a we bit of trouble stirring. Problems are inevitably brought to the town vicar, Jerry, who lives in an English cottage with a dozen English cats.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Haha! Sounds ripe for a new BBC mystery show. A single murder every week. Father Jerry will suss it out.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 19, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

          Even with murder, somehow I think it would hiss and spit with comedy. 😎

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