Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bellowing Ducks


Have you ever looked down the throat of a living, breathing Greater Scaup? If you have, then you have seen Hell. Photographed at Lake Merritt, CA.

There is nothing worse in the bird world than having to withstand the horrible bellowing of waterfowl.  Their piercing and horrible cries are enough to bring anyone to their knees. Today BB&B will provide the service of showcasing various bellowing ducks, without forcing you to listen to their wretched, ungodly sounds. You can thank me now.


Here is the same scaup uttering its war cry yet again. This is it's classic combat pose; as you can see, its foot is poised for skull crushing.


Cinnamon Teal specialize in bellowing from shrubs, just above the water....where you would least expect them. Photographed at Radio Road, Redwood Shores, CA.


The thick tongue of the Canvasback assists it in uttering bass-filled, guttaral tones that can liquify the skeletons of its prey. Lake Merritt, CA.


You too may someday meet your destiny between the dark, betoothed mandibles of a Hooded Merganser. Pray that its terrible shrieks end your life first. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.


Everyone knows that being bellowed at by females is far more unpleasant than getting an earful by males. This Redhead was at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA.


That's right...dual bellowing. The blood and feathers will fly. I wish I had photographed these birds on some remote river in Central America, but these birds live in Golden Gate Park. They usually sleep right next to each other and don't do anything else, but any relationship can get strained...


This Northern Pintail hen has contorted herself into Ultimate Bellowing Position. Be very afraid. Radio Road, CA.


The cry of the Ring-necked Duck will bring the death rattle to your bones in a matter of seconds. Golden Gate Park, CA.


This Common Goldeneye has assumed the position of Alpha Bellow. If you ever see a goldeneye do this, not only will you suffer a terrible, unspeakable fate, but so will your first-born child. Just avoid looking at medium and large bodies of water for the rest of your life and you will be fine. Lake Merritt, CA.

21 comments:

  1. Phew! I'm lucky I made it to the end of that post (excellent photos!). I was starting to hear the fatal banshee shriek growing steadily louder inside my head. Even muted, just looking at these showcase callers drags one into a semi-paralyzed state. Damn the associative property of math!

    I do solemnly believe that the Ring-Necked Duck pictured above will haunt my dreams, and someday come in the night to claim my life, announced only by a sudden...SQUAAAACK.

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    1. Yes, there is something about the Ring-necked doomquack that looks very...final. Something about that steady gaze makes blood just want to jump out of my ears.

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  2. wow.

    the ring-neck looks like a bored-yet-stern lab teacher rattling off instructions to the students for the 4,000th time. But with a look that says "Screw around and you're OUTTA HERE."

    Few things are more dangerous and powerful than t.a.s who have taught a class so often that they a) are super expert and therefore valuable to profs, and b) are so bored by it, it'd be a relief if they got fired.

    Super curious about the job you applied for, tho' it's none of my business. If you get it, will you have to relocate?

    p.s. gotta call that I'll be heading out this week and next to do breeding bird surveys. Holy-pull-down-the-fieldguides-cause-Im-such-a-crap-birder, Batman, and YAY, I get to go outSIDE!!! Anyhow, the reminder of the work I need to do to ramp up my skills made me think of you, Captain Awesome Bird Dude. Cheers. =)

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    1. BB, I've applied to SO MANY jobs, but I have interviews this week for projects in Texas and Southern California. Relocation will be required, as always.

      Where is your fieldwork? I don't think much could possibly be breeding now aside from a few raptors, and maybe something bizarre like a LeConte's Thrasher.

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  3. Great post. All the behavior captured is super interesante. I think the Can is my favorite although the Golden-eye is really giving it his all. I am not sure I have ever seen one vocalize with such dedication, but I would love to even if I may not survive the encounter.

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    1. Gracis JK. And no, you certainly would not survive.

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  4. I've never wanted to be friends with a Canvasback more than I do right now. Look how jolly that fella is. He'd laugh at all my jokes for sure. Even bad snowflake-related ones.

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    1. Yes...a Canvasback's greatest weakness is it's vulnerability to (snow)flakey jokes.

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  5. Such an amazing variety! And you caught them all with their beaks wide open. Love that last one.

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    1. Thanks Dina! Variety is the spice of...in this case, death.

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  6. Sweet series! I think you've just introduced a new genre to the birdosphere

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    1. And you know this...lolcats better watch their backs.

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  7. Help. My eardrums are bleeding from the visuals and my retinas scream in terror from the hideous (although mostly imagined) sounds. Bucephala clangula--that says it all in two unfathomable, horrifying words. Amazing collection of pictures. You are the Werner Herzog of however it is this can be described.

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  8. I'm not sure which made me laugh harder - the 'great ones never blink' video or this post...damn good stuff.

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    1. Thanks Lauren! How is the sticker biz these days?

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    2. Still fledging but still fun! Plus I'm doing fieldwork for some folks. Ahhh, the intermittent life of a biologist...always piecing it together!

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  9. This is great stuff. Great photos, and wonderful, humorous text.

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  10. Totally awesome post, but in the last photo all I can see is a rabbit. A ninja rabbit.

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    1. A ninja rabbit?! Mmm, Rorshach's Goldeneye.

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