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Do Duck Quacks Echo?

They live on every continent except Antarctica, have close to waterproof feathers, and can fly up to 100mph. It makes absolutely no sense as to why duck calls wouldn’t echo. After all, dog barks, bear growls, and human voices echo. So, why did people used to believe that duck quacks didn’t echo?

Thanks to modern day technology, the public knows that duck calls do actually echo. The chances of hearing one for yourself, though, are slim. One unique trait of the duck is how quiet they are. (This may not seem true because ducks are often confused for noisier species.) This characteristic is more true for males than females, however. If a duck was to quack, it’s unlikely to be blood-curdling loud. Therefore, if the original sound wasn’t very loud to begin with, the echo would come back even quieter. Possibly so quiet that it may have sounded like there was no echo at all.

Another theory as to why someone may not hear a duck quack is how particular the environment has to be when they quack. Apparently, according to acoustics.salford.ac.uk, “[d]ucks don’t quack near reflecting surfaces.” Scienceabc.com reports that, in order to produce an echo, the sound needs to bounce off a sound reflecting surface. Meaning, due to their preferences, ducks don’t often quack in the surroundings that contain the conditions required to create an echo.

There are also other, less supported, ideas of why people used to believe that duck calls don’t echo. For instance, the quack’s sound waves change decibels too quickly for an echo to duplicate. One more approach is, before a few years ago, there wasn’t enough reliable, scientific experiments and results that would lead people to suspect duck quacks did echo. Nonetheless, because of more recent scientific analysis, the myth that duck calls can’t echo has been proved invalid; duck quacks can indeed echo.

 

By: Peyton Erb

Photo Credits: https://www.geomicrobes.com/myth-ducks-quack-has-no-echoo/

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