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© Tom Grey
Take a walk around a lake in late November, and you'll find male ducks in their most brilliant breeding colors. These ducks have lost their nondescript late-summer feathers, known as "eclipse plumage." Male dabbling ducks - like this Green-winged Teal - look their finest in late fall and winter, the season of courtship and pair-bonding.
The 2017 BirdNote calendar features many beautiful birds, including the Long-tailed duck. Check it out!
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Mallards and Green-winged Teal, calling and quacking]
Take a walk around any local pond or lake in late November, and you’ll find ducks in their most brilliant breeding colors. The male or drake Mallards [Mallards] sparkle their greenest on their heads and necks, and their bills are now golden yellow. Green-winged Teal males are at full luster [Green-winged Teal], every detail of their complex plumage precisely delineated. Male Northern Shovelers [Northern Shovelers] have regained their deep emerald head-feathers and rich brown flanks.
After months of molting out of their nondescript late-summer feathers, known as “eclipse plumage,” male dabbling ducks look their finest in late fall and winter... [Mallards and Green-winged Teal, calling and quacking] …because for most ducks, this is the season of courtship and pair-bonding. Males display and chase females and fend off other males, to win a mate with whom they’ll migrate in spring to their nesting grounds. That’s a schedule quite different from the usual timetable of songbirds, which sing and court and find mates in the spring, after migrating to a nesting area.
‘Tis the season for duck-watching, when the showiest perform at the top of their art.
[Mallards calling and quacking]
You’ll find four seasons’ worth of birds in the latest “Birds of BirdNote” calendar. It’s available at our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Michael Stein.
[Buying a duck stamp can help save habitat for Mallards and Green-winged Teal and many other ducks!]
Calls of the ducks provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Mallard recorded by A.A. Allen, Northern Shoveler and Green-winged Teal recorded by W.W.H. Gunn.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org November 2016 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# old: 112305MALLKOHO duck-02b-2009-11-16-MS duck-02c