I chose the American Wigeon as the Bird of the Month because it is such an interesting bird and because early spring is such a great time to see Wigeons in Utah.
A common and increasingly abundant duck, the American Wigeon breeds in northwestern North America and is found throughout the rest of the continent in migration and in winter. Its small bill and the male's white forehead, as well as certain aspects of nesting and feeding behavior, distinguish this species from other dabbling ducks.
Male with white crown.
Green face patch.
Large white patch in wings.
Black rear end bordered by white.
Size: 42-59 cm (17-23 in)
Wingspan: 84 cm (33 in)
Weight: 540-1330 g (19.06-46.95 ounces)
Male brightly patterned with white flanks and white crown stripe; female dull gray and rusty brown.
High squeaky whistle, resembling squeaky toy. Female quacks.
Populations declined by approximately 50 percent in the 1980s as a result of extended drought in prairie regions, but have since largely recovered. Widely hunted in the United States in fall, subject to federal limits.
Canard d'Amerique (French)Pato chalcuán, Pato americano (Spanish)Baldpate, American Widgeon (English)
The American Wigeon was formerly known as "Baldpate" because the white stripe resembled a bald man's head.
The American Wigeon is a rare, but regular straggler to Europe where it turns up in flocks of Eurasian Wigeon.
The American Wigeon's short bill enables it to exert more force at the bill tip than other dabbling ducks, thus permitting efficient dislodging and plucking of vegetation.
The America Wigeon is the dabbling duck most likely to leave water and graze on vegetation in fields. However, feeding in fields on grain, such as corn, is rather rare.
The American Wigeon's diet has a higher proportion of plant matter than the diet of any other dabbling duck.
It is intersting to watch the courtship flights of Wigeons out at Farmington Bay where 4 or 5 drakes will fly in a group all pursuing one hen.
Last year and again this year there has been a Eurasian Wigeon drake on the playa between the Nature Center and Goose Egg Island at Farmington Bay. I have included a picture below but I did not take the picture. Except for this picture all of the photos on this blog are taken by me, if I happen to include any that are not I will note it.