Saturday, April 23, 2011

Canvasbacks: Late March Spring Migration through Northern Illinois

The beautiful male Canvasback in its winter home, Phoenix, AZ; 12/29/09.
The Canvasback (Above) are another waterbird that uses Northern Illinois as a stop through while migrating from its wintering grounds to its summer home in Northwestern U.S, Western Canada and Alaska. It spends winter along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as the southern third of the U.S., Mexico and Central America. It's a beautiful white-bodied bird with a striking red neck and head. The very top of the head and long bill are black as is its tail. Its bright red eyes shine brightly against its darker head. The females' bodies are light grayish brown and its neck and head are pale tannish color, but keeps the long black bill as its male counterpart.

I have seen Canvasbacks as early as late March through late May in several lakes: Rock Cut State Park, Bauman Park, and Nygren Wetlands Preserve.  Each time I have seen a Canvasback it's always been by itself or sometimes travelling with another species of duck. Yesterday, I posted a pic of a Canvasback hanging with some Greater Scaups. In the photo (Below) this female was hanging with a group of Mallard ducks.
This female Canvasback was seen with a flock of Mallards in Bauman Park, Rockford, IL; 5/16/09.

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