Though winter may seem like a strange tine to be at a lake hunting for birds, it really isn't. Winter is a great time to be at a lake searching for ducks. Ducks migrate south later than many birds, and come into the area in winter, while most birds are through by September.
Ducks aren't really 'ducks', actually. The female is called the 'duck', and the male is called a 'drake'. Thus, in reality, the female is the 'real' duck. Somehow, however, all ducks have come to be called 'ducks'.
Ducks are actually a big part of birdwatching in Ohio. Out Ohio's 180 some bird species, many of them are waterbirds, and many of the waterbirds are either sandpipers/plovers, or... ducks! There are many duck species in Ohio, but some are just plain strange. The Hooded Merganser, for example, (shown on the homepage header story button) sports a male with a large 'hood' that is black and white, which results in a duck with a goofy looking, large head. While not all ducks have the comical appearance, some of them are just plain strange. Try looking up photos of the Bufflehead, for instance. They have very weird heads. Shiny purple and green? Also, take a look at the shape of their heads! Some are just normal looking ducks. The Northern Pintail is a normal looking duck, except for the ultra long tail. The "normalest" you could get is the Mallard (which is basically the stereotypical duck) or the Redhead.
Right now at a lake near me, here is a list of duck species that has been seen recently:
- American Black Duck (2 reports)
- Northern Shoveler (2 reports)
- Northern Pintail (1 report)
- Redhead (1 report)
- Ring-necked Duck (1 report)
- Bufflehead (2 reports)
- Hooded Merganser (1 report)
- Ruddy Duck (2 reports)
- Common Loon (1 report)
- Ruddy Duck (1 report)
- Pied-billed Grebe (1 report)
Get out and see those ducks!