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Ducks Learn to Surf for Food (Video) - National Geographic


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A Pacific mole crab emerges from sand. Photograph by Anthony Mercieca, Science Source
There’s a new type of surfer on California‘s beaches: Mallard ducks are catching waves to get crabs, a new study says.
 
Rather than avoiding water that washes up the beach like other foraging shorebirds, the mallards allow themselves to be lifted by the water and deposited down the beach. (Also see “Inside the Curl: Surfing’s Surprising History.”)
 
After catching a wave, the ducks will then stick their bills in the sand and sweep them from side to side to catch the quick burrowing Pacific sand crab.
 
Scientists first witnessed this surf-feeding on the sandy beaches at the Coal Oil Point Reserve near Santa Barbara (map) in May 2011, but their Internet search found people reporting observations of the behavior dating back to November 2010.

What’s more, people have observed the behavior in various West Coast locations spanning as much as 800 miles (1,300 kilometers), from San Diego County up to Coos Bay, Oregon—suggesting that it is not just a local phenomenon, according to the study in the latest issue of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. The birds have been seen “surfing” alone, in pairs, and in flocks.

 

Read more: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/12/ducks-learn-to-surf-for-food-video/

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