One January afternoon, I went for a windswept walk along Lake Ontario at J.C. Saddington Park in Mississauga. Big swells were rolling in and breaking on the blocks of limestone meant to reduce erosion. The spray was landing up to 3 metres (10 feet) further inland. And some diving ducks were bravely hunting right in the blast zone.
How Did the Ducks Avoid Being Battered on the Rocks?
Frankly, I thought some of the ducks nearest to the breakwater rocks were suicidal. When one of the big waves broke ashore, it actually caused a low resonant boom like distant thunder.
The conflicting currents caused by incoming swells and retreating whitecaps made for strange peaks and valleys that would suddenly move en masse forward and into the limestone.
Some of the smaller ducks, like the Bufflehead, dealt with the danger by swimming back out towards the Lake when they felt too close.
They rode the swells like pieces of dandelion fuzz.
if they were in danger of getting buried under a foaming white cap crest, they would dive right through the wall of the building wave.
I have no way of knowing if any one duck made a fatal error in judgment and ended up broken on the rocks. I sure hope not, though!
Watching the ducks diving for food, probably zebra mussels, in these huge rolling swells made an entertaining afternoon.
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Have you ever wondered why ducks like to live dangerously? Please share your views with a comment.