I wonder, is it appropriate to attribute certain animal characteristics to other animals? To make such attributions to humans is called zoomorphism, sort of the opposite of anthropomorphism, attributing human characteristics to animals. I once found myself in the middle of a fanatical discussion between two on-line contributors to a parrot behavior forum. One person made the statement that my parrot, Bobo, “had me buffaloed.” This comment prompted someone else to rant derisively about the tendency of people to impose human attributes on their pets. I stayed out of the melee but laughed to myself about the rant and the misattribution of “buffaloing” to humans when it originated as an observed characteristic of those animals we call buffaloes.
So, the other day in Bend, OR while watching mallards on the Deschutes River, I noticed one crabby (!) looking male mallard making a beeline (!) toward a second male mallard and suddenly goosing (!) the mallard. The first duck certainly ruffled a few feathers as the second duck sped up its paddling and turned to face its tormentor. It got me to wondering, can a parrot actually buffalo? Can a duck swim a bee-line? Does a duck look crabby? But most importantly, is it goosing if a duck does it?