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Temporary Trials

A Musing Inspired by the Eclipse Plumage Phenomenon

By D.K. ShepardPublished 14 days ago Updated 14 days ago 1 min read
Top Story - April 2024
Temporary Trials
Photo by Marcus Vorwaller on Unsplash

Each summer the bright feathers fade

Change renders vibrancy to gray

Lake or land bound for lack of flight

Incapacity at first sight

Patterned in purposeful design

Sitting still in storms seems so strange

Except in light of grander schemes

Author's Note: The eclipse plumage phenomenon occurs in mallard ducks and some other species of birds. For mallards, after breeding season they molt all their bright feathers, including the ones necessary for flight. For a period of time they are unable to fly and are adorned in a temporary coat of dull feathers. After several weeks, the mallards molt again to grow back their full colors and are once again able to fly.

Source: "Everything you need to know about eclipse plumage!" by the Scottish Wildlife Trust

nature poetry

About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.


Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (22)

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  • Rachel Deeming2 days ago

    Well, you learn something new, not always about ducks, every day. Loved this!

  • Hannah Moore5 days ago

    I had no idea, how remarkable! And I love the way you've remarked on it too!

  • TheSpinstress9 days ago

    That's amazing, and your poem was a wonderful way to learn about it! Congratulations on a very well-deserved Top Story.

  • JBaz11 days ago

    I did not know that about ducks. I really like where you took this challenge good luck. I believe it has a chance

  • Andrea Corwin 12 days ago

    Nice! Congrats. I like the note you added.

  • ROCK 12 days ago

    Hi D.K.! Congratulations on your Top Story; I thought I was subscribed already but wasn't. Now I am!

  • Gina C.13 days ago

    This is such a beautiful, fascinating, and well-executed poem! Congrats on Top Story!

  • Caroline Jane13 days ago

    Great acrostic, really insightful... AND how educational! I have lived near ducks all my life and I am today years old to have discovered this mallard news. I actually thought all the male ducks left once they had had their way with the females. I now know better. Consider me enlightened! Thank you.

  • Joe O’Connor13 days ago

    That's fascinating D.K.- thanks for adding that author's note in. Do they have any guesses as to why this happens? Seems dangerous for a duck to be grounded for a length of time! "Sitting still in storms seems so strange" was my favourite line here.

  • An unknown type of duck! Congratulations on your top story.

  • Oh wow, I never knew this about mallard ducks. That's so fascinating! Your Acrostic was beautiful and I loved it. Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • “M”14 days ago

    Congratulations 🥳

  • Christy Munson14 days ago

    Congratulations on top story! Thoroughly enjoyed your acrostic. 👍

  • wow I didn't know about mallards, nature is fascinating! And you could tell this so beautifully in a poem! Congrats on top story!

  • Ameer Bibi14 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉🎉 for top story You're an unstoppable force! Your drive and ambition are incredibly commendable.

  • Cathy holmes14 days ago

    This is beautiful, and educational. Congrats on the TS.

  • Anna 14 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! I learned something new today!

  • Novel Allen14 days ago

    Nice to learn new things. Congrats.

  • Lamar Wiggins14 days ago

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing and congrats!!!

  • Joe Patterson14 days ago

    I like this one (Thor Voice)

  • Great poem! I didn't know that they molt even their flight feathers all at once like that. Crazy!

  • Gabriel Huizenga14 days ago

    Wow, I LOVE this. Beautifully composed poem, on a fascinating, little known subject/use of the word eclipse, with a deep, transcendent theme woven into the last couple of lines. This one's got it all, amazing job!

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