Male & Female Mallard Ducks and Raccoon Prints? in the Frost by W. Snyder, Birders by passerby!

Ducks – they are all the same aren’t they?

No, not really – just take a look at their feet … seriously.

Diving ducks, such as canvasbacks or ring-necks, have large feet that they use to propel themselves under water in search of food. They can actually dive and swim well below the water’s surface. These are the ducks that you will see running along the top of the water to get air born. They requite quite a bit of runway space; so usually stick to open water rather than small lakes or ponds.

Dabblers, mallards and wood ducks for example, have smaller feet. You will often see them with their head and neck submerged and bottom pointing skyward as they feed on aquatic insects, invertebrates and vegetation found in the shallow ponds and marshy areas that they like to hang out in.

So next time you are out and about – and see a duck – remember to check out its feet and feeding style! Is it dabbling or diving?

Date of Bird Walk: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2015
Time: 2 – 4 pm
Location: Deer Lake Burnaby – Why? – we wanted to learn about ducks – Stoney Creek is not duck habitat
Birders: 4
Temperature: cooooold – parts of the lake were frozen

Want to learn more about birds? Join our bird walks by emailing birds@scec.ca. You will be put on a contact list for upcoming walks.