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Thread: Help identifying a duck?

  1. #1
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Default Help identifying a duck?

    I haven't done much waterfowl hunting yet, though I hope to change that soon. So I am not much good at identifying them by sight. I took my kids for a joy ride in a raft around a local fishing spot, and found these diving ducks were hanging around. They are a pair, so I figured they must have a nest nearby. Sure enough, I found it and they have eggs. They are diving ducks, and by The Ducks Unlimited waterfowl identification page I would say they most closely resemble the Common Merganser, but the coloration is completely different. Do they deviate much from the normal color of the species? Anyway, my kids are very interested in the duck family now since they got to see the nest and eggs with the hen nearby scolding us. (We keep a respectful distance now - the following pics were taken with a lot of zoom.)

    Here's a shot of the hen on her nest:



    And the drake who is never far away:



    If anyone can help with the ID I'd appreciate it.

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  2. #2

    Default Greeb

    I do not think it is a DUCK, I think it is a Grebe. The pointed beak is the clue. I just call them "Common Grebe's".

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    Greeb is right.

    We call 'em "Fish Ducks" because they taste like fish (they are not a Duck proper, and some folks do eat them) and to differ them from Good eating Ducks we call "Puddle Ducks"
    You can avoid them while hunting becasue the "Run" across the water while taking off, not Blasting Straight up like a delicious "Puddle Duck" like a Mallard or Teal.
    Loons and other fishing birds will run for a take off, and also tatse like fish...they fly rather staright as well and the wings are not a flurry of motion like a puddle duck, but a stedy up and down.

    Good luck Hunting.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Greeb is right.

    Loons and other fishing birds will run for a take off, and also taste like fish....

    Are Loons as fishie tasting as Bald Eagle........? I never ate a Loon.... (Intended as fun, this post should not be considered seriously)

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    AGL, Stranger - thanks! I googled Grebe and the pics I found of the "Red Necked Grebe" are exactly the birds in my pics. Mystery solved - they are Red Necked Grebes. Now I can research them and teach my kids about them.

    And for what it's worth - I like the taste of fish, whether it swims or flies. (Or both)

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  6. #6

    Default

    Remember that not all "waterfowl" are legal game for sport hunters. I am sure that a few grebes, loons, cormorants, and swans are shot by novice duck hunters who believe they shot a legal duck or goose.

    Please take the time to study ducks and geese prior to the season and don't shoot at anything that you can't readily identify.

    Let them get in close, look carefully, and if you are sure you know that you are shooting at a duck or goose take your shot.

    With a bit of experience you can generally determine what species flies over, even at great ranges. Each have distinctive profiles and manner of flight.

    It's pretty easy to distinguish a non-duck or non-goose from the real thing.

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    No worries - I'll be going my first few times with some experienced waterfowlers who will help me with identifying the birds before I shoot. The Grebes have become an opportunity for a homeschool lesson for my kids. They are excited to see the young after they hatch.

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Are Loons as fishie tasting as Bald Eagle........? I never ate a Loon.... (Intended as fun, this post should not be considered seriously)
    Not quite. If you smoke them it gets the fishy taste right out.
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    Being a bit of a birder-wanna-be, I often check the WhatBird.com website to identify unfamiliar birds. Even handier, is the iBird Explorer app on my iPhone. It's pretty darn spiffy. You can search six(teen) ways from Sunday. I've even identified birds while enjoying a cigar on my deck, searching only on their song. It's also fun...in a geeky sort of way...to play various bird songs and have them respond.

    Here's the WhatBird listing for the Red-Necked Grebe

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    Thanks PC - I went to check on them again this Saturday. There are four chicks now, one of them appears to have hatched earlier than the other three - bigger and already out swimming around. The other three were on the hen's back still in the nest. I got to watch the Drake bring a minnow for the chicks. Unfortanetly, I didn't have my camera this time but as soon as I get a chance I'll go out and get some more pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    You can avoid them while hunting becasue the "Run" across the water while taking off, not Blasting Straight up like a delicious "Puddle Duck" like a Mallard or Teal.
    Loons and other fishing birds will run for a take off, and also tatse like fish...they fly rather staright as well and the wings are not a flurry of motion like a puddle duck, but a stedy up and down.
    They also seem to have a longer neck to body ratio than puddlers.

    I'd also add that fish ducks typically sit low in the water. You see very little body compared to puddle ducks that float high in the water. Although that doesn't help much when you're looking at a flying bird.
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  12. #12

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    identifying birds sitting in the water is one thing, how about when they are flying by you at 60 mph in the early morning twilight? my advice would be to find a buddy to hunt with that can help you identify ducks, so you dont make a costly mistake. thats a stinkin grebe for...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bucksducks View Post
    identifying birds sitting in the water is one thing, how about when they are flying by you at 60 mph in the early morning twilight? my advice would be to find a buddy to hunt with that can help you identify ducks, so you dont make a costly mistake. thats a stinkin grebe for...
    Quote Originally Posted by AKsoldier
    (posted three weeks ago) No worries - I'll be going my first few times with some experienced waterfowlers who will help me with identifying the birds before I shoot.
    Already on top of it.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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