Welcome to Week #31 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #31 challenge is Birds with butts in the air….giving us their “moon shot”.
The feature image showcases a pair of butts belonging to a couple of Blue-winged Teals. This pair stayed down more than they stayed up. I guess there was plenty of food under the surface for them.
Dabbling ducks is what came to mind when I set this challenge. They frequent ponds and shallow water for tasty vegetation. Among these ducks are American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler and Wood Duck.
Before we plan our birding trips, we scour the many lists on Ebird.org to see what has been seen and logged in recent days. If you don’t use Ebird and want to get out there and find them, I suggest using this site or download the app to your phone. The data you submit goes directly to CornellLab of Ornithology. Birds are logged by birders and scientist all over the world.
Northern Pintails are long-necked ducks and the breeding males have a very long tail, white breast and white neck. The female has a long tail and is a brown mottled color. They are larger than many ducks at 20-29 inches (51-76 cm). They often migrate with other ducks like the Blue-winged Teal and American Wigeons seen in the photos here. They can be seen on every continent except Australia and Antarctica but are prominent in North America, Asia and Europe.
Providing you with the head shot of the Northern Pintail male shown above was seen here with a cluster of Blue-winged Teals showing their butts off on the right.
Blue-winged Teals are long distance migrants that mainly inhabit North America migrating down into South America. They can be found in Europe and Africa as well. These dabbling ducks take off earlier than other ducks during spring and fall migration, leaving their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada before other species in the fall.
The American Wigeon has a gooselike bill and can eat more plant matter than any other dabbling duck. Watch closely when you are out birding because the Eurasian Wigeon can be a rarity that shows up with the American Wigeon during migration to North America. Same goes with the American Wigeon. This bird has been known to take flight with the Eurasian Wigeon and turn up in Europe. So nice that they get along!
I gave you a Common Gallinule last week, but this one fit the bill or “butt” this week. Even though the light was bright, it did offer a pretty good reflection. This Gallinule or Moorhen as they were once known, was feeding along the banks of the Mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.
True Muscovy Ducks are rare in the United States. Like the Mallard, it has become feral and domesticated residing in parks and on farms. True Wild Muscovy Ducks are restricted to South Texas and further south into Mexico, Central and South America.
Wood Storks are large gangly birds and stands just over 3 feet tall (91.44 cm). Wood Storks range is mainly in the United States, Cuba, Central and South America.
The American Avocet can be found in shallow wetlands like this pair seen at Henderson Birding Preserve near Las Vegas, Nevada. They are usually out in the open with little vegetation to hide them. They have a high-pitched call that gradually rises in pitch, simulating a Doppler effect when threatened by a predator. This technique can make it seem like their approach is faster than it actually is.
Willets are one of the most common shorebirds across North American, Mexico, Central and South America. When threatened, Willets will pretend to be disabled with a broken wing to draw attention to themselves to draw a predator away from their nest. They have an unmistakable call, pill-will-willet which gives them their name.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Next time…Week #32 – Birds with Brown Feathers.