The DUCK – family Anatidae
Perhaps some of the most famous Ducks in children’s literature are the Ducks and Ducklings in Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, published in 1941.
The Ducks themselves, Mr. & Mrs. Mallard, continue to entertain and delight generation after generation of children with their love of family and home.
But what is the real tweet-tweet on the Duck in real-life? Here are a few little tidbits to pass along to your kids and grandkids to combine literature and life:
– Most Duck breeds can be traced back to the Wild Mallard “Anas Platyrhynchos”… the Latin anas for duck and the Greek platus and rhychos for broad bill.
– Ducks were kept mostly for eating until the 19th century. Today, Duck eggs are popular because they are bigger and some say tastier than chicken eggs.
– Mallard Ducks pair off and seek calm, shallow waters and build nests on the ground or in protected sanctuaries. The female lays a dozen or so eggs and incubates them for about a month. The male is very protective of the female and her eggs during this period, but abandons the nest for a flock of other males soon after. The female takes care of the ducklings all by herself.
– The male Duck (called a Drake) is much more beautiful than the female. His lovely green-colored head and gray body are a sharp contrast to the drab, brown female.
– Ducks have a heat-retaining outer coat of interlocking feathers and a gland at the tail that secretes waterproofing oil.
– There is a wonderful Bronze tribute to Robert McCloskey and his Make Way for Ducklings ducks in the Boston Public Garden in Boston, MA.
Ah. The Duck in real-life. Combining literature and life makes reading so much more special.
Reading Make Way for Ducklings with your kids and grandkids, with knowledge of the Duck as a real-life bird, gives you so much to discuss… and your kids so much to think about as they embrace the literature.
Perhaps Mr. Mallard is a bit more interested in the well-being and safety of his duckings than real-life daddy ducks, but Mrs. Mallard is the parent who teaches the ducklings how to swim, dive, walk in a line and march across Beacon Street.
It’s just kind of wonderful that, in the story, Mr. Mallard is waiting for all of them on the little island in the Boston Public Garden.
The message of love of family and home is not lost on Mr. Mallard!
Join me here each day in August for AUGUST TWEET-TWEETS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a bit of “tweet-tweet”!