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Literally A Puddle Duck

I've been enjoying watching this fellow, a lingering spring migrant, for the last few days. It's a species I seldom see in Ottawa.

Northern Shovelers are specialist feeders that use their oversize bills to skim food from the water surface. Their bills have comb-like structures called "lamellae" that act as sieves. This one was actually on a melted snow dump along March Valley Road, and the water it was swimming in was no more than a glorified puddle. (Dabbling ducks as a group are sometimes called "puddle ducks", but it's usually not quite this literal.) Strange habitat, but birds often show up in places we don't expect, especially in migration!

It's that time of yearA Spine-Tingling Night


June 4th, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Nice shots... it was good to get a chance to see them myself yesterday!