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The Thieving Duck

A duck robs a poor innocent woman as she’s distracted by the cute ducklings. Moments later they all rush off with their ill-gotten gains!

What you don’t see is the camera crew, make-up and lighting people and a small crowd watching from behind them. This was for some advert and of course the woman in question is a model.
I shot this on State Street, Chicago after stumbling upon the shoot by accident. They didn’t seem to mind, and I even got a dazzling smile from the model!

I like this: xtreme (login may be required)

2006-10-03 – Welcome visitors from, thanks Kathy B for linking here, I appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment! have now published this picture and the joke description on a separate page linking to this blog. Thank you!

2006-10-07 – John Marguess pointed me at Organized Crime which uses the same image in another joke email! Thanks John!

Here’s the text of the joke email (via snopes) for those of you who go searching for the origins of it. I’d love to know who concocted it in the first place!

Seems the Better Business Bureau got a complaint the other day about a scam in which AFLAC allegedly was taking advantage of women on the street and stealing their money.
Now we all at one time or another have thought that INSURANCE Companies have stolen from us; however, this scam is netting COLD HARD CASH from unsuspecting individuals.
The way it works is the thief uses children to distract the target. While admiring the cuteness of the kids the target is robbed of her cash and never knows what hit her.
I’m sending this out for all to be aware that this is happening and it’s right out on the streets in front of the general public.
A passer-by with a digital camera phone happened to capture the photo attached.
Review it carefully and use caution when distractions like this come along.
Good Luck, and don’t say you weren’t warned.

According to Snopes, it was an advert showing how safe Western Union money transfer system was. I really should have asked someone..

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

77 replies on “The Thieving Duck”

Great shot. Think you showed me this one ages back. How you putting your Flickr comments here? I like the idea of removing the date in the post title, probably not possible on WordPress for me. Plus, you have to be careful not have two identical titles.

Donal – I think I did show you it. It’s been sitting on my computer since last year, and I processed it last February!

The idea of merging Flickr comments into my blog came to me last night and I was up until all hours working on a plugin that grabs the “Latest Activity” rss feed from my Flickr stream and inserts them into my comments table. It works quite well, although it’ll have limited use because it’s so specialised. The image on Flickr has to have the same title as the post here, and it won’t update a comment if someone updates it on Flickr.
Expect a release in a few days time, but unfortunately not something we’ll put on!

I love the photo. I trying to work out what the advert what was for. Some sort of Bird Flu awareness thing? “It won’t just cost your life. It’ll cost you cash!” Always a good way of scaring people.

[…] Looks like I’ve made it. One of my photos was used on the messageboard without linking back to me or crediting me. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose, but I am a little angry at the original poster. Thankfully someone linked to it further down in the conversation. Thanks Kathy B. […]

Looks like I’ve made it. One of my photos was used on the messageboard without linking back to me or crediting me. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose, but I am a little angry at the original poster. Thankfully someone linked to it further down in the conversation.

That would be because someone has scraped the photo out of your blog and has started sending it around the internet. Which would be why it appeared on snopes looking for verification. Congrats! You’re about to be an internet phenome. Your duckies are going to pop up for years. 🙂

Wow, so my photo is being sent about the place by email? Didn’t know that!

Four Kitties – I’m not mad at snopes specifically. I had never heard of before this. I didn’t know that my photo was being used in an email. Makes me wish I had watermarked the image now.

Don’t feel bad about not watermarking it. Thanks to Snopes, anyone who cares is going to know where it came from. That’s what led me here.

Forwarded photo with snope description to my local email jokemaster – so now at least another hundred people will see it.

Great, great photo op. It’s amazing how people can fall for pranks like that. But ya know, why else do they put “Do not touch iron when hot!” warnings on things? Anyhoots, great pic.

I havn’t seen this one circulating through my emails yet but I am sure I will lol
I found it searching through snopes looking for Nigerian scams using Western Union as a means to
obtain thier booty. Funny that this should turn out to be an ad for Wstern Union saying how secure they are.
I always do my homework when it comes to scams!
Anyone ever hear the addage: Did you ever try to milk a duck? hehehe
By the way Donncha, you are an excellant photographer!

I found using wordpress to design my web sites a great time saver and with plugins for automatic sitemap generation and SEO optimisaion and easy changing of themes its such a web design time saver. If fact i just made a template from the theme im currently using and after veiwing the souce code i just saved as html and with a bit of copy and pasting moved all the content on my older html pages to the new template now my older pages all look the same as the blog template. On a new site this isnt a problem but this one has been around a while before i used wordpress. Still have a load of article pages to move over but i should be able to automate some of it with a few block text replacer programs i have. Hope to try out a flickr plugin soon to add some photoshop video tutorials.

This was too funny! Staged or not, it is hilarious. I mean, for this duck to be trained enough to do this act is unbelievable (that is, if ducks can be trained!)

Hi – I posted this at due to his affinity for ducks and their antics. Someone credited you as I didn’t know the author of the photo. Please let me know if you would like me to take it down.

DjMagra – yeah, they asked. See the comment from them a few comments above? There was an uproar about them using images with crediting photographers but they got such a response they did the right thing and provided credit!
Besides, I can’t sell the image. That model didn’t sign a model release form..

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