When King Arthur arrives at a gathering of ducks, they all stay a neck’s length away from him (left). They know he might grab them otherwise. He can fit a wing or tail in his bill and toss a duck aside if he wants to. I got a report from Mary, another wildlife photographer, today that he was rather rough with Dazzle. He picked him up by the neck and shook him like a rag doll.
If he was intent on hurting ducks, he could easily do it. Right now, he could grab one and slam it onto the ice with his long neck used to gain force. He’s five times bigger: wild ducks weigh 3-5 pounds, he weighs about 25. But I’ve only seen him grab them and forcefully move them aside. Oh, it’s not particularly gentle, but it’s not vicious either. As I watched him do it last night while looking down at them from the boardwalk above, it seemed like he was rearranging them like an interior designer would move around furniture. Reduckorating!
If he had cygnets to care for, the situation might be more serious, but in past summers, I’ve seen ducks enter the reach of his youngsters and he isn’t concerned. It’s a different story with Canada geese. He sometimes chases them for hundreds of yards and it’s really dramatic! None of the ducks he “moved” last night quacked in pain like they do when fellow ducks bite them in the rear as they are scrambling for food. Still, the ducks get the messsage that the King is in charge and stay out of his reach most of the time.