Duck/Bird of the Day

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Carolla

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On my 'duck hunting expeditions' this winter, I've been accumulating some interesting photos. So rather than keep sharing them in Room for All, I thought I'd open up a new thread. I invite any of you to also post any interesting photos or info about feathered friends you're coming across ... this COVID winter is creating some interesting hobbies!
 
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Carolla

wondering & wandering
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Today's entry - a male Hooded Merganser - came across him in an open patch of a creek, fishing for his breakfast. And he eventually came up with a huge crayfish! I didn't know ducks could actually eat crustaceans. Thought they were more the fish & veggies type. It was fascinating to watch it fling the thing about, I guess eventually killing it, as it then swallowed the whole thing. Followed with a sip of water and then tucked its beak in under its wing for a nap to digest its meal. Guess we humans aren't the only ones to fall asleep after eating!

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Mendalla

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Regular ducks like mallards are herbivorous, IIRC. Mergansers are the ... um ... odd duck in that they are carnivores.

I will see if I get an good bird pics in my backyard. Got some little guys, maybe chickadees, that pop by from time to time. Haven't had a good enough look to identify them yet.
 

BetteTheRed

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And of course, herons are also carnivores. English boating lore is that "don't let herons s**t on your boat; their crap is loaded with the acids needed to digest whole fish". The vision that is my avatar has just swallowed a whole fish.
 

Lastpointe

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Isn’t he a beauty!

our little mallards we hatched would eat minnows. It was cute the relationship the last one had with our dog. Dog would wade in the edges of the pond, duck would swim beside dog. Dog would stir up the muddy bottom which would attract the little minnows to nibble the algae, duck would eat the minnows. Eventually duck would climb onto dogs back
 

Carolla

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Love that tale @Lastpointe. Did you ever have any 'domestic mallards' with the white bib? There are few of them in our waterways around here - I am told that it is a mallard that has crossbred with a domestic goose, or sometimes with an American Black Duck - or who knows, maybe both at some point in developing the genetic line. Mallards seem to be a promiscuous bunch! Maybe its that saucy little curled tail feather ... :giggle:

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this is the American Black Duck - I think!
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Lastpointe

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Our mallards were never white chested but I have seen them

what I love about mallards is their behavior in the spring. They mate up, find a pond or pool and live there. We always had a pair in our pool, usually a day or two of squabbles with a couple of pairs until it got claimed

in our pond, we used to have a duck decoy attached to the bubbler. The mallards would come and challenge the plastic duck. We switched it to a female decoy but then the mallards cozied up to the decoy. So we removed the decoy and attached the bubbler to the dock
 

Luce NDs

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Our mallards were never white chested but I have seen them

what I love about mallards is their behavior in the spring. They mate up, find a pond or pool and live there. We always had a pair in our pool, usually a day or two of squabbles with a couple of pairs until it got claimed

in our pond, we used to have a duck decoy attached to the bubbler. The mallards would come and challenge the plastic duck. We switched it to a female decoy but then the mallards cozied up to the decoy. So we removed the decoy and attached the bubbler to the dock
One should always respect plastic passions ... they are flexible ... and get beyond the stoned state! Hard liners will argue ...
 

Carolla

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I think Mallards are a classic urbanized species. Last summer we had a pair on our street - they visit various neighbours ponds or pools, and strut up & down the street in the evenings. I watched them from my porch one evening - as they explored my front garden. I wonder if they fall prey to coyotes (of which we have increasing numbers in the area) or if they can just fly away if they're aware enough to notice.
 

Carolla

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Today I went for a duck walk after lunch - invited a friend to meet me & it was great to see her - masked, outdoors, distanced of course. We began at a beach where there was a huge flock of mallards & Canada Geese enjoying the sunshine - fine, but not terribly interesting. Suddenly, all - and I mean all - of them took to the air and flew off. My friend commented "I wonder what triggered that" and just then an adult male BALD EAGLE swooped in! Now I know in some areas Bald Eagles are commonplace, but here they are fairly rare. I had seen reports of one being sighted along the Lake Ontario shore this winter, but had not yet seen it myself. Today was the day!

Unfortunately, a small duck - maybe a juvenile mallard? - had missed the alarm call, or perhaps could not fly and remained fairly close to shore, right in front of us. Of course it became the target for the eagle. Surprised the first time, the duck dove and continued to do so as the eagle circled and swooped many times. It occasionally seemed to strike the water but miss gripping the duck ... until after about 10 minutes, it did finally scoop the little duck out of the water and flew off to a nearby tall fir tree. It was extraordinary to witness the hunt - so much so I didn't even take any pictures!
 

BetteTheRed

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The circle of life can be a little disturbing, yes?

We had a beautiful red-tailed hawk across the street targeting squirrels last winter. Now, I'm no huge fan of squirrels, although I reluctantly feed them, but the actual process was...
 

Carolla

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Today's ducks - A pair of Common Goldeneye. The males are quite distinctive with their black head (may show greenish too if you're lucky), white cheek, white sides with the black 'racing stripes'. When the sun is on them they are certainly a standout in a flock. The female of the species is mostly brown and looks like a completely different species! .
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Female -
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Carolla

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Today's birding expedition took us into the forest in search of an Eastern Screech Owl - and we found it :) Such a cute little fella - roosting in a beech tree, about 30' above the ground, enjoying the warm sunshine. And I learned today from my birding pal that on-line birding etiquette dictates that exact locations of owl sightings is NOT to be disclosed. Apparently, they are often bothered by photographers, not all of them very ethical.
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Mendalla

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The smaller owls like the screen owl are so cute. And the big ones, like the snowy or great horned are magnificent.
 

Carolla

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So true Mendalla - and the little burrowing owls we saw in SK were the little court jesters of the crowd - standing on their long legs on top of their mounds in the fields!
 

Lastpointe

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Such a cutie. For a few years we had a resident Screech owl but she seems to have moved on
 

Lastpointe

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As an aside, my daughter is encouraging me, unless I know the sex easily, like in a Mallard, to refer to animals and trees as she. Part of her efforts to pull me into the century I guess. But I do notice how often I use male pronouns
 

Mendalla

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Actually, I've been endeavouring to use neutral pronouns for animals when I can't tell the sex (they/them). Helps me get used to using them for fluid/enby humans who prefer them.

Haven't seen a lot of birds recently, just the little chickadees and juncos that sometimes hang out in our trees in winter.
 

Luce NDs

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It may be to do with the maternal nature ... as opposed to the paternal supernatural ... a thought contained by the emotional state?

Then there is the explanation that anima is the male spirit within the female spirit ... then in turn the animus is the female spirit contained in the male ... in conjunction causing great chaos and disturbance ... possible creation?

Much of this stuff is mental .. a state denied ...

Who approaches whom in the darkness of dreamland ... generating sharpness and whetting the senses about the person next door?

Wyrd eh? From there on folks are prone to being struck numb ...
 

Lastpointe

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I did my bird feeder count just now. 13 species noted. But far too many chickadees to count. Lol

its an easy to use web site for anyone interested. You just watch your birds, and then check off what you see
 
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