A Cure for the Winter Blues: Winter Ducks

For many people, winter can be a little depressing. Shorter days, trees losing their leaves and birds heading south to warmer climes. Fortunately, it’s not all loss. There are also new visitors who head south and join us during winter. I’m living in Colorado, and this means elk move down from the higher elevations and a host of birds either migrate from northern latitudes or migrate down the mountains to lower altitudes.

At Pinello Ranch, this means American Tree Sparrows, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers moving south and Dark-eyed Juncos and White Crowned Sparrows moving to lower altitudes. However, for a splash of color during winter, it is the winter ducks I look to. Most of the ducks that visit us molt into their breeding plumage by late fall and thus they are at their feathery finest when we lead guided birding hikes at Pinello Ranch.

There are a host of ducks to enjoy including: teals, mergansers, goldeneyes, ring-neckeds, redheads, scaups, wigeons, canvasbacks, shovelers etc… The list is long and for beginning birders the bonus is that they are relatively easy to see. Unlike song birds that are small, quick moving birds, hiding in trees; ducks are relatively large and move little if you give them enough space so as not to disturb them. Here are a few photos taken at Pinello Ranch of some of my favorites.

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