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Lake life

Getting ruddy for winter

Okay, I’m not a birdwatcher. But I am a bird watcher. In other words, I don’t go out looking for birds, counting birds or trying to identify birds. But when they move in with me, I take an interest. Every year since we’ve lived on the lake a group of 20-40 small, fuzzy brown ducks with pointy tail feathers come and land in a little open water area bout 200 yards out from the house just as the first cool weather gets here. When they land, cold weather is not far behind. The weather dudes on TV should be so accurate.

They sit there within a two-acre area pretty much all winter. The only time they swim away is when a white perch fisherman idles through the area, then as soon as he’s gone, they are back. When warm weather is on the way, they disappear again. Ruddy_DuckIt took me a while to figure out what they were, because they are small and don’t even move around a lot. Then I found it. Welcome, ruddy ducks. I got my amateur identification backed up by a pro when a real birdwatcher came by a few weeks ago counting birds on the lake for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Ruddy ducks are officially described as about 14-16 inches long, a “a small, chunky duck with a long tail that is often held straight up.” They often turn brighter colors and the males’ beaks even turn blue during mating season, but down here, they are just mainly brown. They usually winter in marshes, but this group has found a winter  home on Lake D’Arbonne. Hey, I can relate to that. They are pretty good neighbors. They don’t quack or squeal or make noise most of the time, but occasionally when it is still and quiet you can hear little “ticking, rattling” sound followed by what I can only describe as a small duck “burp”. Hey, I can relate to that, too.


One thought on “Getting ruddy for winter

  1. Is that what I heard after we ate at LBK’s the other day?

    Posted by george | December 16, 2014, 12:3610:51 am

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