Sunday, April 12, 2015

Blue-winged Teal 2

The Bay watershed is actually included in the breeding range of the Blue-winged Teal (BWT), so it is possible the ones I have been seeing of late won't be migrating. The male migrates south as early as August or September while female and young often wait until the feeding grounds become iced over. In the spring, they are among the last ducks to migrate.

Is it my imagination or does the male's bill seem a little larger than you would expect? In many photos, the female's head seems slightly larger and out of proportion to the rest of her body, but it may just be the angle when the picture is taken.

BWT form pair bonds in late winter which last through one breeding season. If a male suspects another male of showing a little too much interest in his mate, a fight can result. First the males have a little display of bravado, pumping their heads up and down and blustering like these two were doing.

Notice how the male on the left is talking about the other one under his breath. Meanwhile, the female hopes to avoid the disagreement altogether.

It takes a little bit of study to figure out what is what in this image. I doubt they can hurt each other very much, although a pinch with a duck bill can be painful.

The water probably wasn't over a foot deep there. That is why there is so much mud welling up in the water. I doubt the fight lasted more than ten seconds.

Was there a clear winner? Not that I could tell.

The male aggressor had a mate. She was off camera to the left while the fight took place.

Clearly, this male feels he adequately defended the honor of his maiden.

Meanwhile, she demonstrates her ability to talk a little trash too. Life quickly returned to normal and the four sailed on as though nothing had happened.

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