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Environment | Flora and Fauna

Can Ducks Actually Play Football?

This duck plays strong defense against the Husky football.

This duck plays strong defense against the Husky football.

Katie Campbell


The University of Washington Huskies host the University of Oregon Ducks this weekend in a showdown of top 20 teams. And scores of Duck fans will be flying north for the big game.

At least one duck has been hard honing her ball skills. Meet Jeffrey, a mallard with a serious love of football.

What?! An actual duck that plays football? Yes, a real live waterfowl!

Jeffrey lives in suburban Sammamish, Wash. She was left behind by her flock as a duckling. She can’t fly because she’s afflicted with something called “angel wing,” a drooped wing syndrome that affects aquatic birds.

She’s taken up residence in the Williford family’s backyard, and as you can see from a video I produced last week, Jeffrey is immersed in football. John Williford and his son Jaycee often play catch in the backyard.

“I think she watches us playing catch and thinks she’s supposed to do the same thing,” John jokes.

They showed me Jeffrey’s impressive ball skills, proving that ducks, especially those with angel wings, can indeed play ball.

Watch for yourself:

I have a feeling the bigger, faster Ducks that are landing in Seattle this weekend won’t be so gentle with the Huskies as Jeffrey was with that Husky football.

— Katie Campbell, totally biased Oregon alumnae

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