Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Continents Apart

I took this photo yesterday while we were birding at Talking Water Gardens in Albany, The upper bird is an American Wigeon, and the lower one is an Eurasian Wigeon.  The American Wigeon spends the summer in Canada and Alaska, migrating south to winter along the west coast and further south. The Eurasian Wigeon summers in Eurasia and winters south in the tropics except for a few that drop off to winter along the northwest coast.

I last photographed and wrote about these two different species of Wigeons last January. The American species is a common winter resident to the Willamette Valley and can easily be seen in large numbers on our lakes and ponds.  This was the case yesterday; we saw an estimated 250 of these at Talking Waters.  The Eurasian species is a different story, they are considered un-common, but when seen it is common to see them singly mixed in with large flocks of Americans.  We only saw this one lone Eurasian and it was in the last pond after spending almost two hours looking through all the Americans. 

I am intrigued with the fact that these two ducks represent two different continents, and yet here they are sharing time together in a little pond in Albany, Oregon. According to Wikipedia, “Eurasia is the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia.” Lots of questions float through my mind.  In what country was the Eurasian born and raised; perhaps Russia, or China, or even India?  And what language does this duck quack in? Can his new American friends understand him? And, is it possible he will he be a good ambassador to future generations of migrating ducks, and promote better understanding of these two different continents.  Oops, maybe too much time on the computer.


  1. Great questions..... if only you could understand duck!

  2. These two widgeons you report on are already trying to improve intercontinental relations by hybridizing. It can be quite a treat to have these three versions in close view out on the water. Lee