Pop Quiz 1 Answer: Here’s the Animal

There is a mallard hen sitting on eggs under the daylilies.

An amusing story: Mid-day on a sunny June afternoon, I spotted this nest in a raised flower bed butted up to the sidewalk circling the millpond. All day long, park visitors were within 3 feet of this nest. A family was sitting on a park bench 10 feet away. I asked the mother if I could borrow her 14 year old son, for a minute. We stood 10 feet away from the nest and I gave him this quiz, “There is an animal in this area (which I described by drawing an imaginary rectangle around the scene you see here). Where is it?”

He stared at the scene for five minutes and couldn’t find it. The duck is more visible in my photo because of the flash of my camera. On that day, strong shadows from the bright sun obliterated its outline and blended the ducks cryptic coloration with the wood chips under the plants. Then I asked his younger sister (about 9) to join us, and I posed the same question to her. She found it within a minute! Mom and grandma joined us and we tested them as well. They both eventually found it, but the young girl saw it the fastest. I ran the test a couple of other times with other park visitors on different days. Women seemed to discover the duck before men did, but my sample was small. I’m not sure I can generalize the results. I’ll attempt to repeat the quiz this next summer.

Pop Quiz 1

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  • Douglas Peterson
    Brighton, Michigan

    Artist • Designer
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    You'll find information about the resident ducks, birds, and critters residing at the Brighton millpond. I slip in my art and poetry, but my photography of wildlife and plants is the primary focus.

    Douglas Alden Peterson
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