Friday, December 6, 2013

Ring-necked Duck

Returning from Carleton College last Sunday, John Holden and I found this drake Ring-necked Duck in the small creek that runs through the Northfield Country Club. I have posted about this species a few times before—you can search for these musings with the search-box on the right-hand column of this blog.

I am surprised to find this diving duck so late in the season and in such shallow water. I wonder if this bird is wounded. Migrants, however, often feed in flooded fields, so our shallow creek should not be unexpected. They also like shallow lakes and other freshwater wetlands. Ring-necked Ducks enjoy a more general diet than other North American diving ducks, and thus survive where other species might have trouble. These habits have led to population increases, but, on the other hand, leave this species vulnerable to ingesting poisonous lead shot (Roy et al. 2012).

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