Animal of the Month: Ducks

If you were asked to name different ducks, how would you answer? If you said Daffy, Donald, or Darkwing, get ready to learn about the real-life ducks that inhabit central Oregon. (But also about Donald) Since there are so many varieties, we've picked a few of our favorites to feature this week.**

The male Wood Ducks are some of the most colorful in central Oregon donning green, orange blue, yellow, tan, and shiny black in their feathers. The female duck is much more subtle. These guys are mostly found building their nests in trees. 

 Wood Duck. Photo from animalspot.net // click the picture to follow the link. 

Wood Duck. Photo from animalspot.net // click the picture to follow the link. 

  Hooded Merganser. Photo from animalspot.net // click the picture to follow the link. 

Hooded Merganser. Photo from animalspot.net // click the picture to follow the link. 

Have you seen a Hooded Merganser? You can start looking next month! This is a "fish duck" that has some major diving skills. They have beaks that help them catch fish as well as special lenses on their eyes that help them see underwater. You can find them around Bend October through May. 

The Mallard is probably the most commonly known duck. Both males and females have white tails (a good hint to separate them from other ducks). Did you know that a group of mallards is called a sord? 

  Bufflehead. Photo from birdnote.org // click the picture to follow the link. 

Bufflehead. Photo from birdnote.org // click the picture to follow the link. 

A very small duck with a very large head?? A Bufflehead! Find them in slower-moving or shallow water, these guys are tiny and adorable. The most interesting thing about buffleheads besides the name? They are some of the only ducks that return to their same mate year after year. We're talking to you, mallards. 

The bird everybody loves to hate: Canadian Geese. They slow traffic, they poop on your lawn, and they always travel in groups (which makes the first two characteristics even more offensive). You can find them and their long black necks by the river, crossing roads, or stumbling through golf courses throughout Bend. 

 Canadian Goose honking and soaring.

Canadian Goose honking and soaring.

And finally, Oregon's favorite duck: Donald. Also known as "The Duck" or "The Fighting Duck." Through a special licensing agreement with Disney, the mascot for the Oregon Ducks is the cartoon himself: Donald Duck. History, and rumor has it that when a group of fisherman from Massachusetts nicknamed webfoots migrated to Oregon, the name stuck. Oregon teams were known as Webfoots from the late 1800s until about 1940. Ducks had long been associated with Oregon teams teams (because of their webbed feet) but Donald wasn't chosen as the official mascot until 1940. 

 Walt Disney (right) wearing an Oregon Ducks jacket with Athletic Director Leo Harris. 

Walt Disney (right) wearing an Oregon Ducks jacket with Athletic Director Leo Harris. 

 

**All of the information from this post has been learned from LeeAnn Kriegh's The Nature of Bend. You can buy your own copy in our office