This story just confirms my theory that the duck is a vicious, spiteful creature. Nothing at all like the noble chicken:
From time to time the steamer would drag the shoveler under, then resurface and continue beating the tar out of it as the female watched. At one point he shuffled over to her, but after 30 seconds returned to his victim and punched the poor critter 15 to 20 more times. “He then released the limp body of the shoveler,” wrote Nuechterlein, “pecked at it, and released it again.” At last he returned to the female for good, calling to her while she stretched, and the two flew off together. The shoveler eventually regained consciousness, and though seriously crippled, struggled to shore. It died 15 minutes later.
Although, for the record, geese are much, much worse.