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Ruddy Ducks in the Bay

It’s cold, crisp and clear…and when a girl needs an excuse to stumble around outside in the thigh deep snow…what better reason than to check on the birds (and feed the goats a couple of orange peels from last night)?  I’m a neophyte when it comes to shore birds but when I got a Google alert from someone in Rockland saying that he saw ruddy ducks in Searsport Harbor and a horned lark…I went out to see…and they were around this morning!

Ruddy ducks are look plump, happy and completely unaware of the ice cold water surrounding them…when I did a bit of research on them this morning, they were all over the internet with blue beaks (That’s the picture I pasted into the top left corner of this post)…the one I saw looked more like this…and if anything was going to be blue, it should be a duck in this freezing weather.  Could it be the difference between boy and girl ducks?  Anyone know?

2 responses to “Ruddy Ducks in the Bay”

  1. Hi Astrig! According to”those in the know” ~ the duck with the blue bill is a male during breeding time. He has the chestnut color body with the black hood and white cheeks. Female and winter male have dusky brown body and both have white cheeks, but the female has that stripe through her cheeks that you see.His bill should be black when not in the breeding period.When I had a camp on the lake in northern NY, I used to love watching the mergansers ‘ducking’ in and out along the shoreline with their babies, usually about 10 of them all strung out in a row behind her. They were just precious! The loons were beautiful and eerie both at once! &-)

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