Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Ducky

Seemingly, little do many residents of Racine know about the wildlife here in town. Much of it not in woods but right in front of us! A trip down to the harbor can yield an abundance of birds, mostly waterfowl. Though gulls and Canadian Geese are quite common around here, it's the ducks you've got to watch out for.

Mallards are a dime a dozen around here. Many of them are year round residents, often finding open water to wade in. Pictured above are the drake (left) and the hen (right) .

Looking similar to the Mallards are the Red Breasted Mergansers. Upon closer look, one would notice they are smaller and sleeker than the Mallards. Check out the spiky crest and thin red bill. Unlike the Mallards, they will dive and swim completely underwater for small fish, aquatic incests, crustaceans and frogs. Honestly, I haven't noticed them around till this winter.

Often hanging around the mergansers, I believe are the American Coots. Check out the short white bills on these small birds. These birds can be seen swimming in the open water. They can dive for food and forage for food on land. Coots will pretty much eat anything-plant material, arthropods, fish and other aquatic animals.

Remember, Lake Michigan is a migratory route for many species of birds. I've seen Lesser and Greater Scaups, Buffleheads and Harlequin Ducks on the lake shores over the years. Now, I'm waiting for the terns to arrive. Maybe I'll get a chance to video them dive bomb into the water...

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