Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Just when I was getting a touch of "empty pond syndrome" after Nessie's departure (our little pied-billed grebe), the black-bellied whistling ducks have returned to lend some amusement to our pondscape.
here to get a sample). They have bright pink/orange bills and legs. They stand tall like an egret. They can raise the ridge of brown on their heads like a tiny little mohawk. They don't like to swim in the pond so often perch on fences and trees (unless they've got a brood of ducklings on the water). They originate from parts of Central America and Mexico but have been making their way to Run*A*Round Ranch now for about 8 years and are spreading further north in the summers. They get pretty accustomed to humans so will often hang nearby without flying off if you don't make too many surprising moves. The group that has shown up this year are more shy than we've had in previous years. They might be offspring of some of our 'regulars' so will take a while to get used to us being around.
I will definitely be posting more of them throughout the summer. We've had pairs have ducklings on our pond before (which is always dangerous, considering the dogs, hawks, and even snapping turtles in the past).