Ring-necked Duck


Ring-necked Duck
(An Octogram)

Distinctive profile, see its head,
The Ring-necked Duck.
This wet-land bird is waterbred.
A glimpse I snuck,
as it was gliding on a pond,
in search of finding wild-rice frond,
or hunting leeches in the muck,
The Ring-necked Duck.

In lakes or ponds, it keeps well fed,
as it will pluck
some snails or mollusks from their bed.
One may be struck
by its stark plumage, black and white,
brown neck ring that seems recondite.
I spotted with a little luck,
The Ring-necked Duck.

Author Notes:

While at the Wildlife Preserve in Anoka, Minnesota, I spotted this Ring-necked Duck.
The Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) is a diving duck from North America commonly found in freshwater ponds and lakes. The scientific name is derived from Greek aithuia an unidentified seabird mentioned by authors including Hesychius and Aristotle, and Latin collaris, “of the neck” from collum, “neck”. That neck collar, that it is named for, is a bit difficult to see, as it is dark brown, which blends with the black that surrounds it. So you can’t see the ring unless you are close up. At distance, look for this species’ distinctive peaked head to help you identify it. It has two white rings surrounding its gray bill, a shiny black angular head, black back, white line on the wings, a white breast and yellow eyes. Pairs stay together only one season for reproduction. Until then, they separate. These birds are omnivores and feed mainly by diving or dabbling at the surface. Ducklings are dependent on animal matter such as insects, earth worms, leeches, midges and snails. Adults also eat mollusks (swallowing them whole and crushing the shells in their gizzard) as well as snails. During fall migration, Ring-necked Ducks can form immense flocks. Several hundred thousand congregate each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice, their favorite plant food. Ring-necked Ducks breed in freshwater marshes and bogs across the boreal forest of northern North America. Ring-necked Ducks feed by diving underwater, rather than by tipping up as “dabbling” ducks do. When diving, they leap forward in an arc to plunge underwater, and they swim using only their feet for propulsion. They can remain underwater for several minutes, and travel a surprising distance.

This poem is an Octogram.
The Octogram style of poetry is a repeating form that was invented by fanstorian Sally Yocom (S.Yocom). It consists of two stanzas of eight lines each. The rhyme scheme for the first stanza is;
a B a b c c b B
The rhyme scheme for the second stanza is;
a b a b d d b B
(Capital “B” letters denote the only lines that are repeated).
Line two of the first stanza is repeated as line eight in that stanza, and as line eight of the second stanza.
– No other lines should be repeated
The syllable counts by line are;
8-4-8-4-8-8-8-4, and 8-4-8-4-8-8-8-4.

This photograph was taken by the author himself on May 2, 2016.

Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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