Friday, December 6, 2019

Northern Pintail

Note the drake pintail’s elongated central tail feathers. Both sexes are handsome birds—in the second photo, see the hen’s bronzy wing patch. Erika and I saw several Northern Pintail on 2 December 2019 on Olympia’s Capitol Lake. Pintails are early spring breeders across much of northern North America. Pair bonds form each winter, before the birds migrate north. Once on the breeding grounds, pintails are highly promiscuous. Both mated and unmated males display for females. Only the female incubates. Males abandon the nesting area shortly after incubation begins (Clark et al. 2014).

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