So I never knew what I might learn by doing an online search of the male duck's anatomy. Apparently the reason my ducks take a break from reproduction November to February is so the drake can lose and then regrow his member! I knew that the little worm grows into a corkscrew and I have even seen one hanging out of a drake after he falls over on his side following mating but I was unaware that they grow so long after starting over every year.
At first I was skeptical but there is an article by National Geographic and another by The Washington Post (if I remember the publication correctly) and to top off the articles there are actual videos of the split second lymph filled drake phallus reaching astonishing lengths with the ability to forcibly navigate the duck vagina with its reverse corkscrew shape intended to thwart unwelcome forced advances from reaching the mark. It is truly facinating learning about the 3% of birds that can grow a penis, or more correctly lack the genetic factors that cause 97% of bird sex organs to stop growing and remain stumps.
I truly had no idea how the hen can allow sperm deposits from her chosen mate while rejecting fertilization from rapist drakes (except for about 3% of unwanted matings that are somehow unavoidable). I have seen that the hen is the one to choose her drake but I did not know that the growth of their reproductive systems becomes syncronized to allow successful penetration with only her selected mate.
I learned something new today but my opportunities for sharing my new found knowledge will obviously be limited to other duck keepers since I can't imagine a suitable time and place to share these fun facts in casual conversation at social gatherings. As fascinating as the videos were to watch, I won't be sharing them on Facebook either.