Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wintering Pintails

Yesterday we went birding at Fairview Wetlands primarily to check on the progress of the arrival of wintering birds.  We were pleased to find in addition to the expected Mallards, three male Northern Pintails.  (The Pintail is the duck with the brown head in front of a male Mallard with the green head.) I normally think of Northern Pintails as ducks with long slim necks, but here in this instance they seem to be trying to blend in with the Mallards and adopting a squaty profile. Jeanette counted 88 Mallards, with an approximate even mix of males and females, but we could only find three Northern Pintails and they were all three males. Although it's possible to find Northern Pintails year around in the Willamette Valley, their numbers only become significant in the winter when they migrate from their arctic breeding grounds.

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