Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   General Questions (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=3)
-   -   Do ducks quack at night?? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=419358)

Shiv 05-03-2007 04:14 PM

Do ducks quack at night??
 
Outside a chateau in Provence on Monday, a loud and definite quacking struck up late at night. Fairly sure it was ducks I stood my ground until the next morning despite derision of my bedfellow. Forced to eat my canard the next day, we learned it was frisky French frogs (grenouilles) in their 'saison d'amour'.

Not being one to back down easily, I wonder can anyone tell me if ducks do, in any circumstance, on any continent, quack at night. I so hate to be proved wrong.

Merci bien a vous!

Siobhán

carnivorousplant 05-03-2007 04:21 PM

Since I capture birds that get loose in the building by throwing a sheet over them, causing them to immediately fall asleep, I would guess "no" while I wait for someone more knowledgeable to show up.

dwc1970 05-03-2007 04:25 PM

The real question is, if ducks quack at night, do they echo? :D

Q.E.D. 05-03-2007 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dwc1970
The real question is, if ducks quack at night, do they echo? :D

To which, the correct response is, "no."




(but the quacks do) :p

pinkfreud 05-03-2007 04:31 PM

When I was a kid, I sometimes spent the night at my grandpa's farm. There was a pond near the farmhouse. On and near the pond were quite a few ducks, some of whom were permanent residents and some of whom were just passing through. During the night they seldom made a sound, but every now and then there would be a commotion, a sudden flurry of quacking and the sound of wings flapping. Grandfather said that predators such as coyotes sometimes attacked the flock of ducks during the night.

stolichnaya 05-03-2007 04:33 PM

So am I to infer that ducks do not quack when they are alseep?

Colibri 05-03-2007 04:46 PM

Sure, they will quack at night if they are disturbed or restless. Many birds don't really sleep through the night - they may wake and shift around and call at any time.

wolf_meister 05-03-2007 04:52 PM

Colibri
Quote:

Many birds don't really sleep through the night - they may wake and shift around and call at any time.
Well, they'd better not call me at 3:00 a.m. !!! :mad:

(From now on, I'll make damned sure that I take the phone off the hook before I go to sleep.)

NurseCarmen 05-03-2007 05:05 PM

I grew up next to a lake. Ducks do quack at night. Often do to a fracas of some sort, probably predation, but sometimes a lone duck would wander around quacking. I think maybe when lost, but you could tell it was moving around. I don't recall ever hearing geese at night though.

Loons call often at night.

Shiv 05-03-2007 05:10 PM

Thankyou. I am concluding then that ducks probably don't quack on a regular, casual, conversational basis at night time, as they might during the day, but if restless, disturbed or distressed, they may quack occasionally in the midnight hour?

I think this is possibly enough to allow me to retain a modicum of dignity, so many thanks to one and all.

Siobhán

wolf_meister 05-03-2007 05:15 PM

Nurse Carmen
Quote:

Loons call often at night.
It almost seems as if you're feeding me that straight line. :)

carnivorousplant 05-03-2007 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pinkfreud
some of whom were just passing through.

"But, but, Daisy, can't you stay?"
"No, Donald, I must migrate, it's my nature. See you next year. (sniff)"

Wile E 05-03-2007 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NurseCarmen
... but sometimes a lone duck would wander around quacking.

Perhaps he was looking for Tonto?


Quote:

Originally Posted by NurseCarmen
Loons call often at night.

That's when Caller ID comes in handy.

AtomicDog 05-03-2007 05:46 PM

"Sleep, damn you!"

wolf_meister 05-03-2007 06:03 PM

Thanks Wile E
Somebody had to pick up on that straight line.

Jackmannii 05-03-2007 09:55 PM

"But...the duck didn't quack in the nighttime."

"THAT was the curious incident!!!"

Sapo 05-03-2007 10:12 PM

Maybe it was just the echo of a day quack on a VERY distant surface.

Geese, btw, make excellent guardians as they will make quite a ruckus at any intrusion. I know nothing about ducks.

carnivorousplant 05-03-2007 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sapo
Geese, btw, make excellent guardians

One of those bastards bit me when I fed him at the zoo at the tender age of three.

Nasty geeses, we hates them...

Duckster 05-04-2007 12:14 AM

How do we get down off this thread?

Civil Guy 05-04-2007 12:19 AM

You get down from a goose. (When I get a goose, I need to climb down from the ceiling.)

Rico 05-04-2007 12:24 AM

From the Hollywood Squares TV show:

Quote:

Peter Marshall: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do?
Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

Peanuthead 05-04-2007 02:16 AM

And just for the record: Roosters crow all night long.

Autolycus 05-04-2007 02:22 AM

This thread's quacking me up.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiv
Thankyou. I am concluding then that ducks probably don't quack on a regular, casual, conversational basis at night time

Ducks quack on a casual and conversational basis during the day? Cool. I wonder if their conversations are all they're quacked up to be.

::d+r::

bbs2k 05-04-2007 03:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant
Since I capture birds that get loose in the building by throwing a sheet over them, causing them to immediately fall asleep...

Am I being whooshed? :confused:

carnivorousplant 05-04-2007 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbabysweets2000
Am I being whooshed? :confused:

The building is dormitory style with doors at each long end. Someone invariably leaves a door open, a bird flies in, realizes he has seriously screwed up, and naturally flies upwards, which is the stairway to the second floor. The situation deteriorates from there. :) It hasn't happened yet this Spring. Maintenance will kill them with a broom, and I, being a wimp try to capture and release them first.

LSLGuy 05-04-2007 08:31 AM

Geese:

Geese most certainly make noise at all hours. We live on a lake with many groups of giant canada geese, probably 100 - 200 individuals all told. As they settle in for the evening an hour or so after suset the constant calling slowly dies off. But then something happens out there and they start up a racket again, only to quiet down in a couple minutes. By late night you only occasionally hear a soft honk now & again, but it's rare to go any 10 minutes over any night without hearing at least one honk.

Lionne 05-04-2007 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbabysweets2000
Am I being whooshed? :confused:

They don't 'fall asleep' like you're thinking. They are just calmed down due to the lack of light. It's a common way to quiet a restless bird, cover their eyes or throw a towel over their cage.

SuperNelson 05-04-2007 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NurseCarmen
Loons call often at night.

Do dogs bark at these loons?

kctrules 01-27-2017 11:30 PM

Why do ducks quack at night?
 
May be agitated, or not able to sleep? One lonely duck started quacking at 10:30 pm, loudly. Put the flashlight on him to see if he was threatened by anything as he was on the edge of small lake, standing on grassy edge, outside of windows. Water in lake was still, he was moving his head around in light, but would not move body. He did slow down with the light and was told to "keep quiet." Eventually, it stopped, but no attack sounds. This was a first for us. Hysterical to hear.

cochrane 01-27-2017 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 8535149)
One of those bastards bit me when I fed him at the zoo at the tender age of three.

Nasty geeses, we hates them...

How did you know the goose was three years old? :D

LSLGuy 01-28-2017 08:32 AM

After 10 years of letting sleeping ducks lie they have been awaked to quack yet again.

But do their quacks echo? Are we perhaps hearing these echoes just now after a round-trip distance of some 66 million miles?

Jackmannii 01-28-2017 07:05 PM

I am glad this thread was revived so that an important observation could be made.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiv (Post 8533934)
Outside a chateau in Provence on Monday, a loud and definite quacking struck up late at night.

This is the worst opening line of a mystery novel ever. :mad:

Riemann 01-28-2017 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiv (Post 8534167)
...I think this is possibly enough to allow me to retain a modicum of dignity...

I think in order to address the question of OP's decade-old dignity, we must answer the question: when ducks quack at night, do they sound like frogs?

LSLGuy 01-28-2017 10:02 PM

Of ducks at night in Provence I cannot speak. Though I mightily wish to visit and thence learn of them.

But I have lived on a large lake in the US Midwest near a small island therein. From this sublime experience I can say that Canada Geese in large number definitely have an elaborate ritual of each honking goodnight to each and every flock-mate in turn before retiring for their well-earned nightly rest.

Only to be aroused several times overnight by the wind, a squirrel, or perhaps the motion of the Moon. Each incident of which requires thorough discussion by the assembled multitudes. Who, after thoroughgoing debate having eventually reached consensus on the cause and effect of the disturbance at hand, and duly having voted a collective response thereunto, must then each wish every other in turn a good night and most pleasant sleep.

Until awakened anew by the next squirrel, Moon, or what have you. What a busy nocturnal life these eminently social and voluble creatures lead. Who indeed knew that so few brain cells could trigger so much discussion on so many topics of urgent interest?

:D

Derleth 01-28-2017 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SuperNelson (Post 8538436)
Do dogs bark at these loons?

"Loons break the silence
Wake him from the dead of night
Fido is stirring
He's convinced that noise ain't right
Then when he's heard what he's waiting for
Listen in awe and you'll hear him

Bark at the loon!"—With apologies to Ozzy Osbourne.

nearwildheaven 01-29-2017 12:13 AM

I live by a creek that has ducks as long as there is open water. Their quacking usually settles down at dusk; quacking at night could give away their location to a predator, and we do have hawks, raccoons, opossums, etc. in this neighborhood.

Riemann 01-29-2017 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 19959361)
...quacking at night could give away their location to a predator...

That reminds about something I have been meaning to research. When a cricket gets into my basement, it's extremely difficult to pinpoint the location of the sound. I'm wondering if that's an adaptive property of the kind of sound that crickets make, and if so what is that property exactly? I tried walking around outside several times to try to discern if the same were true outside, i.e. away from the basement where sound was bouncing around the walls; but results were inconclusive, too many of them calling at the same time.

LSLGuy 01-29-2017 07:53 AM

Sounds with very complex waveforms seem to be harder for humans to directionally track. Likewise intermittent sounds if they're real short. It seems as if the direction-finding algorithm starts over for each burst of sound.

I discovered this effect through an annoying experiment. Years ago in the service I worked in an open plan office space about 20x40 feet with 8 people at big traditional Steelcase desks. No cubicles, sound deadening walls, etc.

We each had a traditional 1960s style multi-line telephone with a traditional mechanical ringer on it. Often people were not at their desks and their phone would ring. There were 5 different departments spread across the 8 desks so not everybody had the same phone numbers appearing on their phone. When an unoccupied desk's phone rang on a number you didn't have on your phone, which they did every few minutes all day long, you had to jump up and hustle over there to pick it up and take a message. Leaving it to ring unanswered was simply Not Done.

It was effortless to direction-find the ringing desk(s). It rang, you looked up and knew which desk it was instantly.

Then the base got a "modern" Centrex phone system whose single line phones all had electronic ringers. They programmed the Centrex to ring the same primary number as before on each desk and left all the fancier features blank.

When one of those warbling twittering electronic ringers went off at another desk it was flat impossible to know where the sound was coming from. And we were all young and still had good high frequency hearing. Didn't help. You just couldn't home in on the noise; each twitter came from here, there, and everywhere. Just as your brain started to converge the ring paused, only to start over a second or two later. It was the same mental impression as a word "on the tip of your tongue". You know you've almost got it, but you have no insight into what that approximate solution is.

This was annoying as hell. After a couple weeks of all of us bitching about it and lots of calls getting answered late or not at all while somebody played Chinese firedrill running around the room hunting the ringing phone, we'd had enough. I knew a bit about Centrex programming and called the commo department. I got a sympathetic tech on the line who appreciated that I spoke phone. A couple minutes later we had appropriate hunt groups for the related desks and a pick group for all the phones. Office life got much better after that.


I really wonder why Bell Labs (as they then still were) ever settled on that noise for a ringer? It was utterly unsuitable for its mission.

Riemann 01-29-2017 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LSLGuy (Post 19959754)
...I really wonder why Bell Labs (as they then still were) ever settled on that noise for a ringer? It was utterly unsuitable for its mission.

That's interesting. I can imagine that testing for this just never occurred to Bell Labs, I'm not sure I would have anticipated it as a possible issue.

Funnily enough, I (coincidentally) have the "crickets" ringtone on my phone - it's not an uncommon choice, and it's probably not a good one if you're in a crowded room trying to figure out whose phone is ringing.

Leo Bloom 01-29-2017 12:10 PM

Colvert chanteuse.

From a distance I get the confusion. They're less strident when they're just paddling along, with a bunch of coin coins every now and then.

Corner Case 01-30-2017 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 8535149)
One of those bastards bit me

A gØØse once bit my sister.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LSLGuy (Post 19959092)
Only to be aroused several times overnight by the wind, a squirrel, or perhaps the motion of the Moon.

Those geese, flocking all night long! {though, to be fair, you could probably describe teenage boys in the same vein} No wonder they are bitey all day long - they can't get a good nights sleep!

glee 01-30-2017 06:41 PM

One evening I got really annoyed with a fake 'doctor' and tried to punch him, but missed.
This shows that quacks duck at night. :smack:

(ducks and runs ... geddit?)

Melbourne 02-01-2017 04:10 AM

But but but but.. Ducks don't quack in response to predation do they? They duck down in the reads and hope some other duck will get taken by the fox. If you try to startle one, it won't say anything.

Completely unlike hens, which rush around like the sky is falling, alerting the rest of the flock.

When and why do ducks quack? Are all other ducks different from the dusks I've met?

Folacin 02-01-2017 01:36 PM

Which has been asked at least three times in this thread . . .

Darren Garrison 02-01-2017 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LSLGuy (Post 19959754)
I really wonder why Bell Labs (as they then still were) ever settled on that noise for a ringer? It was utterly unsuitable for its mission.

They were visionaries paving the way for this.

PYANAGAWA 02-10-2017 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolf_meister (Post 8534090)
Colibri


Well, they'd better not call me at 3:00 a.m. !!! :mad:

(From now on, I'll make damned sure that I take the phone off the hook before I go to sleep.)

How did they get your number?

6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 02-10-2017 06:26 AM

Via a bill.

Made the call. Not sure if it was Arkansas or Louisiana.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:37 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.