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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Wood Duck mom keeps her ducklings out of the rain

Rain today (Friday) kept many of us inside or under umbrellas. It's sort of the same for ducks. This hen Wood Duck was providing cover for her six ducklings, one of which is checking on the weather. Ducks can be wet on the bottom, it seems, but should be dry on top. A soggy duckling loses heat quickly.

Cinnamon Teal

In April of last year a Cinnamon Teal was found in a puddle in farm field in southern Minnesota. It was keeping company with Blue-winged Teal. Cinnamon Teal are rare in Minnesota, a western species that rarely makes it this far east. I drove down to photograph the bird, my first opportunity to record this species. Farm fields aren’t the most scenic venues for photos, but, I take what’s offered. Two weeks ago, we were at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, just outside of the east-central town of Malta. The town and refuge are situated along U.S. Highway 2. The refuge has a 15-mile wildlife tour road that offered, on that day, the best refuge birding I’ve had anywhere. I suspect the refuge would be a wonderful place to bird in any but winter season. Five minutes into my visit I came upon a pond with this Cinnamon Teal and two others. Before the drive was finished I had seen 18 of this species. It’s no wonder that finding this bird here causes excitement among birders. It’s not only a rare sighting, but also a beautiful bird.

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