Waterfowl

  Ducks

Mallard

Scientific Name: Anas Platyrhynchos

The Mallard is probably the best known and most recognizable of all dabbling ducks, and breed throughout North America. The Mallard is 56–65 cm long, has a wingspan of 81–98 cm, and weighs 0.9–1.2Kg. The male is unmistakable, with a green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange (can also 

contain some red) bill tipped with black (as opposed to the dark brown bill in females). The female Mallard is light brown, like most female dabbling ducks. A noisy species, the male has a nasal call, while the female has aquack. The Mallard inhabits most wetlands, including parks, small ponds and rivers, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing. They usually nest on riverbanks, but not always near water. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks, which are known as a sord. Mallards form pairs only until the female lays eggs, at which time she is left by the male. The clutch is 8–13 eggs, which are incubated for 27–28 days to hatching with 50–60 days to fledging. The ducklings can swim and feed themselves on insects as soon as they hatch, although they stay near the female for protection.  

  Heron

Blue Heron

Scientific Name: Ardea Herodias

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae. It is the largest North American heron, with a head-to-tail length of 36-55 in, a wingspan of 66-79 in, and a weight of 4.4-8 lbs). It is blue-gray overall, with black flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks. Generally, they nest in trees or bushes near a body of water. The primary food for Great Blue Heron is small fish. It feeds in shallow water around dawn and dusk. Herons locate their food by sight and generally swallow it whole. It uses its long legs to wade through shallow water, and spears fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. This species usually breeds in monospecific colonies, in trees close to lakes or other wetlands; often with other species of herons. Eggs are incubated for approximately 28 days and hatch asynchronously over a period of several days. The first chick to hatch usually becomes more experienced in food handling and aggressive interactions with siblings, and so often grows more quickly than the other chicks.

 

  Geese

Canadian Geese

Scientific Name: Branta Canadensis

The Canadian Goose (proper name is Canada Goose) is native to North America and breeds in Canada and the northern United States. Its nest is usually located in an elevated area near water such as streams, lakes, and ponds. This species is 30-43 in long with a 50-71 inch wingspan. The male weighs 7–14 pounds, and can be very aggressive. The female looks identical but is slightly lighter at 5.5–12 pounds, and has a different honk. Canada Geese are herbivores and therefore their diet includes green vegetation and grains. The Canada Goose eats a variety of grasses when on land. Courting during the second year of their lives, Canada Geese find a mate.  They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. The female lays 3–8 eggs and both parents protect the nest while the eggs incubate. During this incubation period, the adults lose their flight feathers, so they cannot fly until after their eggs hatch which lasts about 25–28 days. While protecting their goslings, geese have a tendency to attack humans when they feel themselves or their goslings to be threatened. First the geese will stand erect, spread their wings and produce a "hissing" sound. Next, the geese will charge. They may then bite or attack with their wings. The off springs do not leave their parents until after the spring migration (6 –9 weeks). The Canada Goose is naturally migratory and their fall migration can be seen from September through the beginning of November. They are well known for their V flight formation, and it is true that the front position is rotated since flying in front consumes the most energy.

Pilgram (Domestic) Geese

Scientific Name: Anser AnserDomesticus 

Pilgrim Geese are a breed of the domestic goose. The origins of this breed are unclear, but they are thought to be either decended from stock in Europe, or developed from American stock during the Great Depression era. The breed is auto-sexing with distinct color differences between males (ganders) and females (geese) at hatching. Newly hatched ganders are light yellow, while the geese are grey. Adult Ganders are mostly white with some grey on the rump while the adult Geese are mostly grey and occasionally have traces of grey in their faces. Both Ganders and Geese have a knobless orange bill, and orange feet and shanks. Weight of the mature bird is about 13-14 pounds. This breed of goose is listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.   

  Birds of Pray

 Bald Eagle

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus  

We now have several bald eagles of various ages flying over Singletary. The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in throughout North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting. The bald eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide, and 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years. Bald eagles are not actually bald; the name derives from an older meaning of the word, "white headed". The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brow.

Red Tailed Hawk 

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis

The red-tailed hawk a.k.a. Red Tail, is one of three species known as a "chickenhawk", though it rarely preys on standard-sized chickens. At distance, Red-tailed Hawks have a similar shape to Bald Eagles but their wings are shorter, their heads smaller, and you can usually see that the bird's body and wings are paler than a Bald Eagle.  


Cormorant

Scientific Name: Phalacrocoracidae 

Cormorants (a.k.a. Shags) can be seen around the shore of the lake and at Gull Island.   Cormorants are medium-to-large birds, with body weight in the range of 1 to 11 lbs The majority of species have dark feathers. The bill is long, thin and hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes. All species are fish-eaters, catching the prey by diving from the surface. They are excellent divers, and under water they propel themselves with their feet with help from their wings; some cormorant species have been found to dive as deep as 150 ft. They have relatively short wings due to their need for economical movement underwater, and consequently have the highest flight costs of any flying bird. Cormorants nest in colonies around the shore, on trees, islets or cliffs. They are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and as we see, some have come to inland waters.  


Barred Owl

Scientific Name: (Strix varia)

The barred owl, also known as northern barred owl or hoot owl, is a true owl native to eastern North America. Adults are large, and are brown to grey with barring on the chest.