Monday, February 23, 2009

My World: Redhead or Canvasback?


Redhead and Canvasback at Reid Park in Tucson 1-5-09 by Kathiesbirds

My World is a world where shapes and silhouettes matter. When I am trying to identify a bird one of the first things I look at is the size and shape. Each species has its own unique profile as well as a different beak for a different purpose. I took this photo of a Redhead and Canvasback male ducks back in January. It wasn't until I was home that I realized what a perfect opportunity it is to show the difference and similarities between the two species. We see most of our ducks here in the wintertime at local lakes, ponds, reservoirs and Sewage Treatment Plants. We often get both of these species of duck. This photo shows the male of each species. The Redhead (average length 19") has a more rounded head, a gray back, and a gray bill with a black tip. Note the yellow eye also. However, the larger Canvasback (average length 21") has a more whitish body with a redhead that fades into black near the face. The canvasback also has a red eye. What is most distinctive, however,is the shape of that bill and forehead. Both species of duck are classified as diving ducks, but the redhead is known to dabble in the shallows at times.


Soon the spring migration will start and these two species will be flying north to their nesting grounds on wetlands and prairie potholes, but for now I get to enjoy them right here in the desert of Southeast Arizona where it is 85 degrees and breezy today. I have my windows open wide and I can hear the birds singing like crazy under slightly overcast skies. I think the refrain they are singing is, "Spring is coming, Spring is coming! and it's starting right here!"

29 comments:

Guy D said...

Those are beautiful ducks, similar to the ones we have here in Wascana park.

Have a great week!
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful birds! Interesting info! Thanks for sharing!

Tabib said...

Beautiful red head and red eyes!

Ruth said...

What a great comparison shot. I believe I have pictures of both species from this winter, but I am going back to double check the IDs.

dAwN said...

Great Photo..thanks for sharing all the information ..I really liked seeing both birds together and seeing the differences.

Wren said...

Great comparison - I do get those two confused. Of course, it's easier when they are side by side. Do you think I could convince them to travel in pairs?

Kallen305 said...

Such gorgeous ducks! Wonderful close up you have of them.

Arija said...

Gotta luv those ducks!
You have spring about to spring and we have a definite autumn crispness in the air although no rain yet. Even with the extra blanket last night we are still in for 100+F on sunday and the fires are stilll raging in Victoria.

Grammy said...

Great photo. I love your skywatch view also. The colors are awesome.

ewok1993 said...

beautiful fowl. enjoy them while they're there.

Deborah Godin said...

That was just made to order!

bettyl said...

Awesome ducks! So different from the wild ones that invade our fish pond!

Janie said...

interesting identification lesson. We get both species at the bird refuge near here, so I'll have to go out and test my newly learned I.D. skills.

SandyCarlson said...

That is the refrain. To be sure. Beautiful post, Kathie.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thanks for the I.D. help.It is great to see the two ducks together like that.I will try to remember this when they arrive here.
Blessings,Ruth

Gaelyn said...

Great captures of the ducks and wonderful post. They really do look quite different.
Like spring here today also, but only 65 degrees.

I believe the Darlingtonia is also called pocket plant. They are very unusual and eat flies and bugs.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Fascinating information. There really are subtle differences if you really pay attention.

Your photos were stunning. Even the water droplets are brilliant.

~Lisa
New Mexico, USA

Lilli & Nevada said...

Wow these are beautiful

Lew said...

Striking color in the ducks and water! And a exquisite sunset in Sycamore Canyon. Arizona does have some great colors in its skies.

Babooshka said...

Identification I find is a minefield. Just when you think you have it you notice something about the beak or feet that just doesn't tally. He 's areal beauty and definitely not here.

In answer to your question on my blog, plenty of birds on the lake and around the park but no other wildlife.

Abe Lincoln said...

How about pretty ducks. Nice photography.

Brookville Ohio

Diane C. said...

Interesting all those differences you found between redheads and canvasbacks. Your photo is perfect for comparison. I know I need to pay more attention to shapes and sizes, but it's easy to get distracted by pretty colors and textures.

Dee said...

Once again I have learned so much about my local wildlife from you! Thanks- and the pictures are just amazing! I am so glad you are out there capturing this and bringing it to my world!

VALKYRIEN said...

What colorful and beautiful birds! And such a great shot of them!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Those are good looking ducks. We have the Muscoveys down here, which aren't as eye friendly.

Shellmo said...

I love being able to compare and your photos of them are beautiful!!

Glennis said...

Those are beautiful ducks, we don't have either type of duck in New Zealand.
Nice photo.

Larry said...

Man-that side by side photo comparison is just awesome! Ducks take off from every pond in the county as soon as I start my truck.

Mary said...

Good lesson here. It has taken me two winters to finally recognize Grebes. I guess in 10 years I'll know waterfowl. Another 10 years to learn shorebirds (if I get to the shore). :o)