Decrescendo Vocalizations Of Female Mallards And Mimicry By Duck Callers
Callicutt, James Thomas
AdvisorKaminski, Richard M.
CommitteeLestrade, John P.
Schummer, Michael L.
Female mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) exhibit diverse vocalizations. Duck hunters mimic these vocalizations using artificial calls made from hardwoods or plastics. Hardness of these calls and extent to which humans can mimic live mallards using an artificial call were unknown before this study. I compared hardness of 7 species of hardwoods and cast acrylic and found acrylic, cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), bocote (Cordia alliodora), osage orange (Maclura pomifera), and pecan (Carya sp.) were the hardest materials tested. I also compared acoustic metrics of field recordings of vocalizing female mallards to those of experienced duck callers using calls of these materials equipped with single or double reeds. I found that cocobolo, osage orange, pecan, acrylic, and bocote calls with double reeds were acoustically most similar to female mallards. I recommend that duck call manufacturers use acrylics and harder wood species with single or double reeds, recognizing that double reed calls generally performed superior in this study.