Monday, January 4, 2021

Tundra Swan—Ring-necked Duck

Trumpeter Swans are increasing on Olympia’s Capitol Lake, We regularly listed four birds during most of December, but, on 29 December 2020, Erika and I counted 11. We took photos of two of them that ventured relatively close to us. Feeding close to the swans, and appearing to follow the larger birds, were four Ring-necked Ducks. It almost looked like some sort of cooperative feeding was afoot. Both species eat aquatic vegetation. We wondered if the swans might be more efficient foragers than the ducks, which have to dive to reach their food. Perhaps the swans are messier eaters, leaving “crumbs" for the ducks to salvage. Another possibility is that the ducks follow the swans to rich feeding areas.

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