Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's a wood duck, anyway?

When Sir Barry is provoked, he often shouts and says the person is a 'wood duck'. Or even a 'bloody wood duck.' The term, I gather, means something like 'jerk.' I'm not sure if the expression is from England or Australia. Barry has lived in both places.

Dr. Jack Rhoton, a naturalist and conservationist, was not pleased to hear American wildlife thus maligned; however, Dr. Rhoton does not shout at people. His voice was even as he said in his Tennessee drawl, "I doubt you really know what a wood duck is." He launched into a lucid lecture on the woodland fowl (pictured above). I'm not sure I can do justice to Dr. Rhoton's remarks as there was a lot of information as we were at a banquet where I couldn't take notes. Wood ducks, I gather, are unusual, colorful birds, native to North America. They live in dead trees and were for a time on the endangered species list, though they've made a comeback. Watch what you say about American birds, Sir Barry!

Sir Barry, shouted that he knew a wood duck when he saw one, thank you.

Below: Sir Barry (right) with Drs. Gann and Knight

Below that: Dr. Rhoton receives a gift of appreciation from the Nanjing Education Department

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