Now here’s a jazzy-looking duck. They, too, are getting ready to leave their warm winter grounds here in northern California, and we will not see them again until next winter.
The American Wigeon breeds in the tundra and boreal forests of northern states and Canada in warmer months, and then migrates south for the winter. They can be found primarily in open-water wetlands where they prefer shallow waters for their diet of submerged vegetation. A medium-sized duck averaging 19 inches in length, they are fairly common throughout the United States.
Often seen in mixed flocks, Anas americana are easy to spot for their white crown and forehead, and powder-blue bill. When I’m standing in the dense fog and pouring rain observing winter birds, the green eye patch does not shimmer, it looks black; but the unusual crown and bill offer a pleasant reprieve of this easy-to-recognize duck.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander