American Black Duck

We’ve had this different duck hanging around all winter and now thanks to Tom and his blog post here,  I now know it is an American Black Duck.  I’m really happy to finally know what it is.  After reading Tom’s post I did some reading on them and everything fits, even down to its behavior.  It is so much more skittish than the Mallards.  Even a little chickadee flying into the feeder will scare it so bad that it will jump backwards 3 feet.  It is hard to photograph it because it spooks so easily.  So the photos below aren’t great, because they are heavily cropped.  It won’t let me get close enough to get a decent shot, even on full telephoto.  I won’t even try to guess if it’s beak shade is dark enough to be a male or a female.  It’s usually under the shadow of this big pine when I see it, making it hard to tell from so far away.

I feel kind of sorry for it.  It seems so lonely.  It hangs near the Mallards.  They don’t chase it off, but they don’t really accept it either.  Maybe another will show up eventually so it has some company.

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If you would like to read more on the American Black Duck, here is a  link to more info on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website.
Interestingly, they say it is only present here during winter and not during mating season.  But the mallards are mating here and it’s still here.  I don’t recall ever seeing one here before though (regardless of time of year).

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