Bird of the Month- February is Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed duck by Carl Jackson

Continuing the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, we celebrate a rare migratory bird who was quite the celebrity when it was at Bolsa Chica.  Follow along as we highlight a new bird species each month (hint hint, to see even more amazing bird photos each month, hang up our 2018 Wings Over Bolsa calendar).

February’s Bird of the Month is the Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) who came to visit last year!!!

This is a sea duck who is usually found way up north, but the two juvenile/winter female ducks who came to visit Bolsa Chica didn’t get that memo.  These ducks go through various different plumage colorations/molts depending not only on sex and age but also on seasonal differences as well.  I remember quite the back and forth on the specific sex, age, etc. of our two visitors within the large birding community in Orange County.  Anyway, these diving ducks win the award for deepest dive at a  depth of 200 ft.  In older bird identification books, you will find this duck under the common name Oldsquaw.  These ducks weigh on average 1.6 lbs, are 16.5 ” long, and have a wingspan of 28″.

To learn more about this unique duck, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s page here and the Audubon’s page here

Learn more about the Year of the Bird from: Audubon, BirdLife International, National Geographic, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Photo: Carl Jackson

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