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This bird belongs to the order of Natatores, or Swimmers; the most familiar tribes of which are ducks, swans, geese, auks, penguins, petrels, pelicans, guillemots, gulls, and terns. They mostly live in the water, feeding on fish, worms, and aquatic plants. They are generally polygamous, and make their nests among reeds, or in moist places. The flesh of many of the species is eatable, but that of some is extremely rank and oily. The duck is a native of Britain, but is found on the margins of most of the European lakes. It is excessively greedy, and by no means a nice feeder. It requires a mixture of vegetable and animal food; but aquatic insects, corn, and vegetables, are its proper food. Its flesh, however, is savoury, being not so gross as that of the goose, and of easier digestion. In the green-pea season it is usually found on an English table; but, according to Ude, "November is its proper season, when it is plump and fat."


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The Book of Household Management (1861).

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