Domestication is a strange thing. It enhances certain traits while diminishing others, usually not for the better. A classic example is the Muscovy Duck. In its wild form, this large duck is black with green iridescence and white wing panels. It nests and roosts in trees along tropical rivers, reaching the U.S. only along the Rio Grande River in Texas. The domesticated form is found in parks and farms throughout the country, and bears little similarity to its wild ancestors.


This photo shows two domestic Muscovy Ducks, a female on the left and a gargantuan male on the right. For a size comparison, note the Wood Duck in the background. The male weighs close to 20 pounds, larger than most Wild Turkeys I have seen. This is not a bird that will be flying to a tree cavity any time soon. While some might admire this bird for his formidable size and brightly colored facial skin, I think domestication has robbed him of his true nature and, if I may be anthropomorphic (and I may because this is my blog), his dignity. If ducks dream, I hope this bird envisions himself sleek and black, flying along a tropical river and roosting in a hollow tree.