Monthly Archives: January 2014

Duck Soup

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Arizona. It begged for a stop at the local park.


If you are interested in waterfowl, winter is a good time to visit a park here. The human-made lakes are a veritable duck soup.


Take the male ring-necked ducks, named for the hard-to-see cinnamon band at the base of the neck. They also have white markings on the bill.


These little guys were diving and swimming under the water more than the other kinds.


The light brown duck in the foreground with the green on its head is a male American wigeon.


There were a lot of colorful males. Here’s a male mallard. Can you see his curly feathers on top of his tail? Male mallards have those.


According to the Cornell Ornithology website, the curly-tail feathers mean this male is of mallard ancestry, even though his coloring is much different.


Ducks weren’t the only birds in the water. There were also American coots,


as well as some Canada geese.


Look closely at the bill (hopefully this will show on your screen if you click on the photograph to enlarge it). You can see the grooves called lamellae along the sides of the bill. The goose uses the lamellae like teeth, to cut the grass and leaves it eats.

It was fun to learn more about the birds. Thanks to our friends for making this a special day!