No Ordinary Mallard
Mallards are one of the most common and familiar ducks on the Horicon Marsh. It is so ordinary to see them that it is easy not to give them a passing glance. This wasn’t always the case. Between 1914 and 1930 the Marsh was drained and used for agriculture. Ducks were rare and so were Canada Geese. Legend has it that a “Duck Liberation Day” was held in 1935 after a dam was built in Horicon and the Marsh was flooded again. Help was sought to release as many domestic ducks as possible at the Horicon Marsh, in the hope that their release would encourage wild ducks to migrate here. There were 1,180 ducks banded on Duck Day. The ducks were released as the high school band played and school children cheered. Duck Liberation Day was a success. Almost all domestic ducks come from the Mallard species. We now have at least 25 species of ducks on the Marsh. The next time you see an ordinary Mallard, let it remind you that it is part of the history of an extraordinary place, the Horicon Marsh.
If you would like to read more about this fascinating history, information from today’s post was taken from Wild Goose Marsh: Horicon Stopover by Robert E. Gard with photography by Edgar G. Mueller.