Shoveler Feeding question.

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Shoveler Feeding question.
From: Eric Hocking <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 17:43:04 +1000
I apologise if this post seems a little trivial to some here, but I'm
currently out of the country and the only books I have are field guides to
the UK and the US.

I believe that Steve is seriously asking this question and I have to profess
in having complete ignorance in the feeding habits of Shovelers.

Here's his post in it's entirety from rec.birds.  Steve's posting from

> High-Cuisine is a Matter of Taste:
>      Although it's Summer, that garden-spot of the duck world,
> our local sewage lagoon, has plenty of Shovelers in attendance.
> Located at a community college in the countryside, the many
> tiny life-forms in this fertile water make up the bulk of this
> species' diet.  Their large bills have efficient strainers to
> separate out this mixture of microscopic plant and animal life.

This is the interesting point:

> They have a special trick to bring their food to the surface.
> Two or more Shovelers will swim clockwise in tight circles,
> with their bills busily working the water.  The swimming action
> causes the water to well up from below, bringing more food
> within reach.  I've seen as many as 30 of these ducks having
> a real feeding-frenzy in one big circle.  There is a very
> precise protocol for entering and leaving the circle, without
> disrupting the continuity.  The one question that is burning
> in my mind: Do the Shovelers in the Southern Hemisphere swim
> counter-clockwise?  

OK, I know he's referring to an extremely prevalent misconception about
water draining in opposite directions in the two hemispheres, and may in
fact be trolling me, but;

> Perhaps Eric Hocking or some other resident
> of Oz can answer this.

Any takers?  Amongst the triviality of it all, *I'd* be interested in the
feeding habits of the Australian bird.

Eric Hocking
"A closed mouth gathers no feet"
==   Melbourne, Australia   ==

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