Schnatterliesen: Do ducks not echo?

A common myth is that duck quacking and chattering would not produce an echo. That would be practical, because what the sweet Schnatterliesen croak about shouldn't be heard a second time. But is the myth true at all?


This is one thing with everyday myths: they sound funny and interesting and are ideal for a neat small talk. Hardly any of the interviewees really checked this myth. As well as? After all, the ducks happily chattering seldom stay in closed rooms or deep gorges, in which walls the croaking and chattering could throw back. It's a good thing that there are scientists who really get to the bottom of every question - and that's why they found out that it's really just a myth that ducks would not produce an echo.

Ducks don't echo? That's not true!

Because scientific answers to simple questions are often so complicated, there is a short version that is at least as suitable for small talk as the myth itself: Imagine two ducks who are friendly with "Quak!" welcome. The greeting ritual is usually no louder than a human conversation. Have you ever seen your entertainment echo through your apartment or across the street? The volume is the one reason why there is no echo with ducks. In the case of a large family of ducks, who would move their flight exercises into a canyon, the situation would be very different, because a lot of chatter also makes a lot of noise - and accordingly generates an echo.

But there is another secret that is responsible for the creation of the myth that ducks would not produce an echo: the quack sound has a very special sound. It runs out very gently, so that it merges with its echo and is then barely perceptible to human hearing. In simple terms, the echo comes together with the croaking.

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