Did you know a ducks quack doesn’t Echo? I assume most of us have heard this statement at least once in our lifetime. So for what reasons is it true? What is so special about our little feathered rib-eyes in the sky, that makes their sound not resonate the same way every other sound on this earth.
Well, in fact they do echo. They all do, but we will examine the mallard for it is one of the most widely chased. There are some truths to this myth, but all sound waves can produced an echo, and each one can be calculated mathematically.
This is how we get radio, Broadcast television, sonar, radar, and many more. And before you jump out your chair, I know that radio waves are not sound waves, but for a layman’s example they work in similar ways with different reflection and speed properties. Based on the laws of physics that are beyond the scope of this discussion all sound has the ability to resonate.
Disclaimer aside, what are the truths. Even though the sounds ducks make do reflect. Some are, so low or high in reflection frequency that we just plain can’t hear them. Other factors are a play here, though. Principles in sound waves state that the wave reflects at right angles to impact surfaces. Hard, or maybe I should say, dense smooth surfaces reflect much better than soft rough ones. Two theories jump out here.
A. The sound you actually hear first is the reflection off of the water, as most duck sounds are actually very faint. This is supported by the right angle theory for over head flyers, and the fact that smooth water hit with sound waves traveling at speeds exceeding 700mph (varies with altitude) is in fact is a very dense smooth object.
B. The other is habitat, in the swamps, mashes, and wet lands, and more over the conditions ducks are hunted. Sound is often muted to the effect of almost no echo.
Either way while the myth is most certainly false, because of the factors involved, I can honestly say,”I’ve never heard an actual duck’s call echo.” This is a huge driving factor when you hear me say call low and slow. As while I have never heard a duck echo. I most certainly have heard duck calls echo. Heck, I’ve even foolishly mistaken my echo for responses, and carried on a long drawn out conversation with essentially myself. The therapy dang near cost me a small fortune. j/k
From a calling stand point, the bouncing hen and Cajun squeal are unique play’s in the resonance of the sounds waves. It is possible to in fact sound like a group of ducks with one call based on the slight delay from the sound changing angles both in the call barrel and the objects it hits in the environment. While this is a cool tactic, to be realistic you would need Hundreds of decoys in the spread. I’m not saying they don’t work, because I’ve seen them work very well, even with small spreads. I’ve also seen them spook birds that had lowered the landing gear and had the flaps set for the landing.