Posted by: atowhee | January 5, 2015

FIRST MONDAY’S BIRDS

WALL SPARO House Sparrows behaving as Wall Sparrows.  What are they getting at?  This section of wall doesn’t even appear to have moss on it, so?WALL SPARO2

SPARROW COMMENTS: Jeff Gilligan suggest the birds might be going after minerals.  This is a retaining wall with dirt on the uphill side and evidence that water is seeping through the porous blocks toward the side where the birds are.

Lithia Park’s Upper Duck Pond lives up to its moniker.  Male Woodies looking good as they prepare for the courtship season ahead.WOODIES1 (1280x960)RUN-DUK1See this dark duck in the bottom right hand corner?  Part Mallard…and…well, we all know the over-sexed Mallard drakes will mate with anything from parking meters to Frisbees, but what is the heritage of this duck?  IT runs in upright stance…part running duck?RUN-DUK2Notice how the real Mallard is more horizontal as it scutters across the ice. Here’s what running ducks look like:running ducks

Wayne Hoffman writes: “Your mystery duck probably is a Runner Duck (I learned them decades ago as “Indian Runner Ducks”).  They are actually a domestic breed of Mallard – in part bred for egg production.  So it may have some more “normal” mallard in its recent history, but still not really a hybrid.

There are lots of breeds of domestic ducks that are Mallard derivatives.  So many that when you find a weird duck in a park that does not look like anything in the field guide,  it probably is a domestic Mallard.  The only other duck that is truly domesticated and regular in captivity is the Muscovy Duck, and of course they look very different.
Lots of other species are kept in captivity, but mostly they still look like their wild ancestors.  The one exception I can think of is a white version of White-cheeked Pintail that I used to see regularly in waterfowl collections in Florida.  These have normal soft-parts colors, so are leucistic rather than albinos.”

SPARO DUOSPARO DUO2This is how real AMERICAN sparrows eat, on the ground, horizontal…not imitating a chickadee or hummer!SPARO DUO3

 


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