Monday, April 13, 2015
Blue-winged Teal 3
I would never have thought of combining tan and black, but the combination on the male's flight feathers is very striking.
Once the male and female have chosen a mate, the pair are almost inseparable. Even when they take off in a flock, they will stay near one another. You can imagine the problem created if they were to become separated. It isn't like they can call each other on a phone and say, "Hey, where are you?"
BWT only have one brood a year, a clutch which can be anywhere from six to fourteen eggs. The nesting period is from nineteen to twenty-nine days. Chicks are precocious and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching. The two closest males in this image have just landed.
Blue-winged Teal are the second most abundant duck in North America. They are especially common in the prairie pothole region of the Midwest, habitat they find ideal for raising the next generation. The female has complete say so in where the nest will be located and she may take several days to decide.
BWT are vulnerable to DDT in South American countries where they winter and where it is still being used. Ingestion of lead shot and fishing sinkers are another threat to waterfowl. The lead problem is affecting many species of birds, including Bald Eagles. Loss of wetland habitat is another continuous challenge to their population.