Winter Duckfest Part III — American Wigeons
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American Wigeons are perhaps the most often seen dabbling duck in Tucson during the winter months. Large numbers of them migrate to our area and every pond and artificial lake seems to be full of them. Wigeons are attractive little ducks. They tend to show up in flocks of several dozen individuals. Males are easy to identify by the green swoosh on the sides of their faces that sort of resembles an inverted Nike logo.
These ducks are extremely cute. They don’t quack. Rather, they omit a high pitched squeak that sounds a lot like the rubber toys that one buys for his or her puppy.
These ducks are so plentiful that it is fairly easy to get good images of them doing something other than just sitting on the water. In a pond full of wigeons something seems to be happening at all times. Recently, I was able to get this image of a pair of wigeons in flight.
Wigeons can be playful when the mood strikes them. I spent five minutes watching this American Wigeon apparently playing. He created tremendous splashes of water by slapping his wings against the pond’s surface and he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.
I observed another wigeon engaging in wing flapping after he’d finished grooming. This behavior seems to be universal among all species of waterfowl. Sometimes ducks do it to establish dominance, but here, the bird seemed to be engaging in this behavior just for the fun of it.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400mm ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 400. The first image shot at f5.6 @ 1/500. The remaining three images shout at f6.3, shutter speeds varied from 1/1000 to 1/1250.