Most wild animals are camera shy. That is, they do their very best to get away from me when I try to take their picture. Farm animals are friendlier, but wild animals are usually quite wary of humans, and with good reason since humans can often be dangerous creatures. But today, this duck decided to stare me down. It surprised me so much that I almost didn’t take the photo, which was his goal. Clever bird.
This is a male mallard (drake) whose plumage is transferring over to “eclipse” plumage (non-breeding) because the time for breeding is about over. People say that ducks in general are not very smart, but I have to wonder. He swims in the sun whenever he wants to and takes shelter in the cool reeds. Other than finding food, which every living thing must do, he does not work. He never exerts himself unnecessarily. He doesn’t worry about money or the economy. He doesn’t try to keep up with the Joneses, and he doesn’t worry about war. His life is completely peaceful.
Compare that to humans, and then ask yourself who is the smarter? We like to think that we are the most intellectually evolved creatures on this planet. However, I’ve always had this nagging fear that perhaps we are among the least intellectually evolved and that most of the animals are patiently waiting for us to catch up. After all, why would an evolved creature create a lifestyle of permanent work and slavery? I wish I were as smart as a duck.
|Mallard drake in eclipse plumage.|