Wednesday, February 23, 2011

American Black Ducks

I heard from the Cornell Lab yesterday, and they confirmed that these lovely birds that I posted about a few days ago are, indeed, the American Black Duck.    It was a very nice email, and came with an invitation, which I'm sure that they extend to everyone, to join their e group to count the birds.  I will do that.

The way to tell an American Black Duck from a female Mallard, according to Cornell is:

(The American Black duck will have) "Dark bodies, plain grayish faces and solid colored bills.  Female Mallards would have mottled brown/orange bills, lighter and more patterned overall body color."

19 comments:

Madi and Mom said...

Morning Louise
How nice to have a birding resource that is so quick to respond. What fun it will be to do the bird count. Several retired friends of mine participated in a count over last weekend. I look forward to doing that next year,
C

Upupaepops said...

Oh yes you definitely need to look into project feeder watch ( a winter activity) the Great American Bird Count ( a February activity, last weekend) and if you are in a CBC circle you can add your feeder count to the CBC count.

through Project Feeder Watch you will learn how to count a population . Essentially it comes to a 2 hour observation every other week. You count the birds that enter your study circle. The circle is really a cylinder so birds that come in with a flock but are not traditional feeder birds ( kinglets and warblers would be an example) are counted as well.. your final tally will be the most number of birds ( of a species) that you can count at any one time. If the birds are uniquely marked that you can id individuals, you can add them if they came to your circle at any time in the two hours. I could do that with Annas Hummingbird females.

I don't know why I did not suggest this program to you sooner.

the Cornell Lab is one of the great world resources for ornithology, both pro and ammy.

Sharon said...

That's really cool, Louise. Have a great day :-)

Dreaming said...

Several of my friends have participated in the Great American Count and loved it. I must confess that I don't know enough birds to accurately count them - from a distance, a bird is a bird!
I look forward to hearing whether you do get involved in any of the programs Upu... described.

Woodswalker said...

Did the folks at Cornell tell you how to distinguish a Black Duck from a female Mallard? I'm afraid my eyesight is too limited to be able to make the distinction.

Louise said...

Yes, they did, Woodswalker. Here is their description.

"Dark bodies, plain grayish faces and solid colored bills. Female Mallards would have mottled brown/orange bills, lighter and more patterned overall body color."

I'll add that to my entry, also.

texwisgirl said...

That's awesome that they responded so quickly to your inquiry! They're one of my favorite sites to visit...

Upupaepops said...

I am struck by the overall grayness of the head and neck. It would be handy if you had two show up at once.

This is a great fiindand kudos to you for knowing something was different about these ducks

Jim said...

That is good to know Louise. I'll keep my eyes open to see if there are any around here.

AJ-OAKS said...

That is going to be so much fun helping count birds.
Ooooh, ooooh, loved all the deer.
That sweet look on the possum's face is adorable. Although I hear they can be quite aggressive when needed.
Look at all those squirrels!! Wow!!
The turkey ladies are really veery pretty.
Your mom was an amazing woman!
Hugs. xo

Canyon Girl said...

Now that you know, it is clear what they are. I know you will enjoy being a bird counter. It is so right up your alley. I also love Upupaepops's comments. This woman knows so much and I am so happy to have gotten to know her a little bit on the blogs.--Inger

Terry said...

Very cool!

KB said...

It's cool that the Cornell lab answered your question. I've subscribed to their bird info site for years... it seems well worth it!

Sheri said...

Project Feeder Watch is a great citizen scientist program. Hurray! Another species to add to your bird feeder list.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hi Louise! I think the word is out about your place--I wonder what else will find its way to your outdoor diner? :-)

kattsby.com said...

That's great, that they replied so quickly! I often use their website, it's very good! Love the ducks. We've quite a few mixed ones in the park as the male mallard doesn't really care who he sleeps with.

Vicki Lane said...

Good to know -- I'm pretty ignorant about ducks.

Dar said...

I haven't ever seen the American Black Duck in our area, but that doesn't mean they aren't around the lakes somewhere, I guess. We get tons of the Mallards tho.
I missed your deer entry. We would see more this time of year also, as the does are needing more nutrients as their fawns grow within them. They say it is the worse time to stop feeding them if they have been used to your feeding them, for that reason. Maybe you will see the spotted fawns in the spring. They are precious. I love watching them play and kicking up their heels in our field.
BlessYourHeart

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

How cool! I am on Cornells mailing list also, I have never had time to do the bird count but now that I am unemployed/retired I may take part! Great photos and how exciting to see something different and new.