Sunday, January 10, 2021

American Wigeon

Erika and I went to the Billy Frank Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on 6 January 2021. Our goal was to add waterfowl to our new year bird list. We added seven ducks, but missed quite a few others. Among the first we saw were a large flock of American Wigeon loafing and feeding along a grassy roadside.
Later we observed several wigeon bathing during high tide. After splashing in the water, the birds dried off by raising their front ends and flapping their wings. Such bathing serves as a courtship behavior. The wing flapping shows the birds white wing patches and advertises their age and their candidacy of being a successful mate (Mini et al. 2020). Normally the sides of a drake wigeon’s head is iridescent green, but on this beautiful morning, the heads shown bronze.

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