December 07, 2009
Your ornithological pop quiz of the day: Are mallards' feathers ever orange? Answer: Sometimes, but only when they've been spray-painted by Oregon State fans in attempted sacrifice to the biggest rivalry game in OSU-Oregon history:
The hapless animal was found at Linn-Benton Community College [near OSU's campus] on the afternoon before the Duck-Beaver Civil War football game Thursday night.
Someone had duct-taped its legs together and spray-painted its feathers orange.
"There's no way to get it off," Picton said. "Anything we put on there would be more toxic than the paint."
The paint destroyed the water-repellent qualities of the duck's wings, so it can't swim, and the bird ingested some of the paint trying to preen itself. The only reason it wasn't blinded is because it likely closed its eyes while being sprayed. A shelter will hold on to it until it molts and develops a new coat of feathers.
I don't know how likely local animal control is to find the taggers, but hopefully watching the Ducks punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl over Oregon State brought them some significant pain.
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Hat tip: Deadspin