This week, facts about the World Championship Duck Calling Contest in Arkansas.
TOOMEY: It's Living on Earth. I'm Diane Toomey.
[SOUNDS OF DUCKS]
TOOMEY: Duck hunting season begins this week in the southern part of the U.S., and to kick off the event the citizens of Stuttgart, Arkansas are celebrating. They're hosting the weeklong Wings Over the Prairie Festival, which includes, among other things, a queen mallard beauty pageant. But the highlight of the event is the 66th annual World Championship Duck Calling Contest. Duck calling is a crucial skill for hunters, who imitate the birds' vocalizations to lure them closer. To make the waterfowl sounds, duck callers use pocket-sized wooden or acrylic instruments, though a rare few use only their vocal chords. The contest works like this: after a 30 second warm-up, each competitor has a minute and a half to do four different duck calls, including the mating call and the hail call, a series of loud excited notes, used to attract the attention of distant ducks.
TOOMEY: We're listening to Barney Calef, the reigning world champion duck caller and a judge at this year's competition. Whomever is chosen as the new winner is sure to walk away happy. This year's prize package includes 8,000 dollars cash, as well as a shotgun, a Labrador retriever, and, of course, the latest in camouflage hunting apparel. And that's this week's Living on Earth Almanac.
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