Waterman Bird Collection – Part I

BJU Waterman Bird Collection 2018

In Huge Bugs and Critters, the Waterman Bird Collection, in the Science building, was introduced. This post will start introducing you to these wonderfully preserved specimens of birds that lived over a hundred years ago.

BJU Bird Collection 2018

At first, it bothered me about the use of birds in this manner, even though many museums have displays of birds. Yet, when you look back 100 plus years, they didn’t have the technology, nor the modern color cameras or slow motion videos to capture images of them.

How to study birds, a practical guide (1910) Black and White Photos ©WikiC

John Audubon did excellent drawings, with detailed colors. He studied live birds and specimens to discover their designs and colors.

“John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-size watercolors of North American birds (Havell edition), all reproduced from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.” Birds of America

When the Lord first created the birds, there were no specimens until sin entered. How must those first birds have appeared? Photos, movies, and even specimens would have given us quite a sight. Today, we have fossils, but they do not show the beautiful feathers and features that those original avian wonders must have been adorned with.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:21-23 NKJV)

Common Eider, Bufflehead, and Canada Goose

The birds in the right hand side of the display above is where we will begin. On the top shelf is an Eider, a Bufflehead and a Goose. It is nice to see them together to get a size perspective. All of these three birds are in the Anatidae Family.

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Common Eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima) is a large (50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h (70 mph) Part of the Anatidae Family. Common Eider – Wikipedia and a Cool Fact from  All About Birds

  • The oldest recorded Common Eider was a male, and at least 22 years, 7 months old, when he was found in eastern Canada.

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Anas albeola.

The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek boukephalos, “bullheaded”, from bous, “bull ” and kephale, “head“, a reference to the oddly bulbous head shape of the species. The species name albeola is from Latin albus, “white”. The English name is a combination of buffalo and head, again referring to the head shape. This is most noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on the head, thus greatly increasing the apparent size of the head. Bufflehead – Wikipedia, and a Cool Fact from Bufflehead – All About Birds

  • The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The photo shows how much larger the Goose is than the Bufflehead.

The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water. Canada Goose Canada Goose – Wikipedia and a Cool Fact from Canada Goose – All About Birds

  • The oldest known wild Canada Goose was a female, and at least 33 years, 3 months old when she was shot in Ontario in 2001. She had been banded in Ohio in 1969.

I trust you will enjoy meeting the various birds through this series. The links provided give much more information, and photos of these species.

“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)


Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Relocated Here


Vol 2, #6 – The Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) for Birds Illustrated

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) for Birds Illustrated


Just a common Duck?

No, I’m not. There is only one other Duck handsomer than I am, and he is called the Wood Duck. You have heard something about him before. I am a much smaller Duck, but size doesn’t count much, I find when it comes to getting on in the world—in our world, that is. I have seen a Sparrow worry a bird four times its size, and I expect you have seen a little boy do the same with a big boy many a time.

What is the reason I’m not a common Duck?

Well, in the first place, I don’t waddle. I can walk just as gracefully as I can swim. Your barn-yard Duck can’t do that. I can run, too, without getting all tangled up in the grass, and he can’t do that, either. But sometimes I don’t mind associating with the common Duck. If he lives in a nice big barn-yard, that has a good pond, and is fed with plenty of grain, I visit him quite often.

Where do I generally live?

Well, along the edges of shallow, grassy waters, where I feed upon grass, seeds, acorns, grapes, berries, as well as insects, worms, and small snails. I walk quite a distance from the water to get these things, too.

Can I fly?

Indeed I can, and very swiftly. You can see I am no common Duck when I can swim, and walk, and fly. You can’t do the last, though you can the first two.

Good to eat?

Well, yes, they say when I feed on rice and wild oats I am perfectly delicious. Some birds were, you see, born to sing, and flit about in the trees, and look beautiful, while some were born to have their feathers taken off, and be roasted, and to look fine in a big dish on the table. The Teal Duck is one of those birds. You see we are useful as well as pretty. We don’t mind it much if you eat us and say, “what a fine bird!” but when you call us “tough,” that hurts our feelings.

Good for Christmas?

Oh, yes, or any other time—when you can catch us! We fly so fast that it is not easy to do; and can dive under the water, too, when wounded.

Something about our nests?

Oh, they are built upon the ground, in a dry tuft of grass and weeds and lined with feathers. My mate often plucks the feathers from her own breast to line it. Sometimes she lays ten eggs, indeed once she laid sixteen.

Such a family of Ducklings as we had that year! You should have seen them swimming after their mother, and all crying, Quack, quack, quack! like babies as they were.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Bob-Nan

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Bob-Nan



HANDSOME little Duck indeed is this, well known to sportsmen, and very abundant throughout North America. It is migratory in its habits, and nests from Minnesota and New Brunswick northward, returning southward in winter to Central America and Cuba.

The green wing is commonly found in small flocks along the edges of shallow, grassy waters, feeding largely upon seeds of grasses, small acorns, fallen grapes or berries, as well as aquatic insects, worms, and small snails. In their search for acorns these ducks are often found quite a distance from the water, in exposed situations feeding largely in the night, resting during the day upon bogs or small bare spots, closely surrounded and hidden by reeds and grasses.

On land this Duck moves with more ease and grace than any other of its species except the Wood Duck, and it can run with considerable speed. In the water also it moves with great ease and rapidity, and on the wing it is one of the swiftest of its tribe. From the water it rises with a single spring and so swiftly that it can be struck only by a very expert marksman; when wounded it dives readily.

As the Teal is more particular in the selection of its food than are most Ducks, its flesh, in consequence, is very delicious. Audubon says that when this bird has fed on wild oats at Green Bay, or soaked rice in the fields of Georgia or Carolina, it is much superior to the Canvas back in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

G. Arnold, in the Nidologist, says while traveling through the northwest he was surprised to see the number of Ducks and other wild fowl in close proximity to the railway tracks. He found a number of Teal nests within four feet of the rails of the Canadian Pacific in Manitoba. The warm, sun-exposed banks along the railway tracks, shrouded and covered with thick grass, afford a very fair protection for the nests and eggs from water and marauders of every kind. As the section men seldom disturbed them—not being collectors—the birds soon learned to trust them and would sit on their nests by the hour while the men worked within a few feet of them.

The green-winged Teal is essentially a fresh-water bird, rarely being met with near the sea. Its migrations are over the land and not along the sea shore. It has been seen to associate with the Ducks in a farmer’s yard or pond and to come into the barn-yard with tame fowls and share the corn thrown out for food.

The nests of the Teal are built upon the ground, generally in dry tufts of grass and often quite a distance from the water. They are made of grass, and weeds, etc., and lined with down. In Colorado under a sage brush, a nest was found which had been scooped in the sand and lined warmly with down evidently taken from the bird’s own breast, which was plucked nearly bare. This nest contained ten eggs.

The number of eggs, of a pale buff color, is usually from eight to twelve, though frequently sixteen or eighteen have been found. It is far more prolific than any of the Ducks resorting to Hudson’s Bay, and Mr. Hearn says he has seen the old ones swimming at the head of seventeen young when the latter were not much larger than walnuts.

In autumn the males usually keep in separate flocks from the females and young. Their notes are faint and piping and their wings make a loud whistling during flight.


GREEN-WINGED TEAL.Anas carolinensis.

Range—North America, migrating south to Honduras and Cuba.

Nest—On the ground, in a thick growth of grass.

Eggs—Five to eight, greenish-buff, usually oval.

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) by Ian

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) by Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Of all clean birds ye shall eat. (Deuteronomy 14:11 KJV)

Unfortunately, at least for me, people do eat ducks and teals. I prefer to go birdwatching and only “shoot” the birds with my camera. They just seem too pretty to harm, but I can’t condemn those who eat them. I do have a problem with those who only kill them to hang them on a wall. Anyway.

The Green-winged Teals are in the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans – Family which has currently 172 species of which 24 are Teals. Are North American ones, according to Sibley’s, are the Green-winged, Blue-winged and the Cinnamon Teals.

The Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) or (Anas crecca carolinensis) is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands. It was considered conspecific with the Common Teal (A. crecca) for some time but the issue is still being reviewed by the American Ornithologists’ Union; based on this the IUCN and BirdLife International do not accept it as a separate species at present. However, nearly all other authorities consider it distinct based on behavioral, morphological, and molecular evidence.

This dabbling duck is strongly migratory and winters far south of its breeding range. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. In flight, the fast, twisting flocks resemble waders.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

This is the smallest North American dabbling duck. The breeding male has grey flanks and back, with a yellow rear end and a white-edged green speculum, obvious in flight or at rest. It has a chestnut head with a green eye patch. It is distinguished from drake Common Teals (the Eurasian relative of this bird) by a vertical white stripe on side of breast, the lack of both a horizontal white scapular stripe and the lack of thin buff lines on its head.

The females are light brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. They can be distinguished from most ducks on size, shape, and the speculum. Separation from female Common Teal is problematic. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

It is a common duck of sheltered wetlands, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover. It is plentiful enough to make it a species of Least Concern if it were; it is far more plentiful than the Common Teal. It can be seen in vast numbers in the Marismas Nacionales of western Mexico, a main wintering area.

This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble “quack”.

All three Green-winged Teal subspecies occur in the northern hemisphere during summer and in winter extend to northern South America, central Africa, southern India, Burma, and the Philippines. In North America, ssp.carolinensis occurs across the continent and is joined in the Aleutian Islands by ssp. nimia, which remains there throughout the year. Anas crecca breeds in Iceland, Europe, and Asia. It is also seen occasionally during the winter in North America along the Atlantic Coast. The American green-winged teal winters from southern Alaska and southern British Columbia east to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and south to Central America. It also winters in Hawaii.

The American green-winged teal breeds from the Aleutian Islands, northern Alaska, Mackenzie River delta, northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador south to central California, central Nebraska, central Kansas, southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Maritime Provinces. Nesting chronology varies geographically. In North Dakota, Green-winged Teal generally begin nesting in late April. In the Northwest Territories, Canada, Green-winged Teal begin nesting between late May and early July. At Minto Lakes, Alaska, Green-winged Teal initiate nesting as early as June 1 and as late as July 20. 

Green-winged Teal lay 5 to 16 eggs. The incubation period is 21 to 23 days. They often fledge 34 to 35 days after hatching or usually before 6 weeks of age. Young Green-winged Teal have the fastest growth rate of all ducks. Male Green-winged Teal leave females at the start of incubation and congregate on safe waters to molt. Some populations undergo an extensive molt migration while others remain on or near breeding grounds. Females molt on breeding grounds.

Green-winged Teal are among the earliest spring migrants. They arrive on nesting areas almost as soon as the snow melts. In early February, Green-winged Teal begin to depart their winter grounds, and continue through April. In central regions Green-winged Teal begin to arrive early in March with peak numbers in early April.

In northern areas of the United States, Green-winged Teal migrating to wintering grounds appear in early September through mid-December. They begin migrating into most central regions during September and often remain through December. On their more southerly winter areas, Green-winged Teal arrive as early as late September, but most do not appear until late November.

Green-winged Teal inhabit inland lakes, marshes, ponds, pools, and shallow streams with dense emergent and aquatic vegetation. They prefer shallow waters and small ponds and pools during the breeding season. Green-winged Teal are often found resting on mudbanks or stumps, or perching on low limbs of dead trees. These ducks nest in depressions on dry ground located at the base of shrubs, under a log, or in dense grass. The nests are usually 2 to 300 feet (6–91 m) from water. Green-winged teal avoid treeless or brushless habitats. Green-winged teal winter in both freshwater or brackish marshes, ponds, streams, and estuaries. As they are smaller birds, they tend to stay in the calmer water.

Green-winged Teal, more than any other species of duck, prefer to seek food on mud flats. They usually eat vegetative matter consisting of seeds, stems, and leaves of aquatic and emergent vegetation. Green-winged Teal appear to prefer the small seeds of nutgrasses, millets and sedges to larger seeds, but they also consume corn, wheat, barley, and buttonbush seeds. In marshes, sloughs, and ponds, Green-winged Teal select the seeds of bulrushes, pondweeds, and spikerushes. To a lesser extent they feed upon the vegetative parts of muskgrass, pondweeds, widgeongrass and duckweeds. They will occasionally eat insects, mollusks, and crustaceans.[8][10] Occasionally during spring months, Green-winged Teal will gorge on maggots of decaying fish which are found around ponds.

Common predators of Green-winged Teal include humans, skunks, red foxes, raccoons, crows, and magpies.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Black Grouse

The Previous Article – The Allen’s Humming Bird

Falling Plates



Vol. 2, No. 5 – The American White-fronted Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.


“As stupid as a Goose!”

Yes, I know that is the way our family is usually spoken of. But then I’m not a tame Goose, you know. We wild fellows think we know a little more than the one which waddles about the duck-pond in your back yard.

He sticks to one old place all the time. Waddles and talks and looks the same year after year. We migratory birds, on the other hand, fly from place to place. Our summers are passed here, our winters there; so that we pick up a thing or two the common Goose never dreams of.

“The laughing Goose!”

Yes, some people call me that. I don’t know why, unless my Honk, honk, honk! sounds like a laugh. Perhaps, though, it is because the look about my mouth is so pleasant.

Did you ever see a flock of us in motion, in October or November, going to our winter home?

Ah, that is a sight! When the time comes for us to start, we form ourselves into a figure like this >· a big gander taking the lead where the dot is. Such a honk, honk, honking you never heard. People who have heard us, and seen us, say it sounds like a great army overhead.

Where do we live in summer, and what do we eat?

You will find us throughout the whole of North America, but in greater numbers on the Pacific coast. The fresh-water lakes are our favorite resorts. We visit the wheat fields and corn fields, nibbling the young, tender blades and feeding on the scattered grain. The farmers don’t like it a bit, but we don’t care. That is the reason our flesh tastes so sweet.

And tough!

My, how you talk! It is only we old fellows that are tough, we fellows over a year old. But of course a great many people don’t know that, or don’t care.

Why, I once heard of a gander that had waddled around a barnyard for five long years. Thanksgiving Day arrived, and they roasted him for dinner.

Think of eating an old, old friend like that!

Where do we build our nests?

Away up north, in Alaska, and on the islands of the Arctic Sea. We make them of hay, feathers, and down, building them in hollow places on the ground.

How many eggs?

Six. I am very good to my mate, and an affectionate father.


AMERICAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSEAnser albifrons gambeli. Other names: “Laughing Goose,” “Speckle Belly.”

Range—North America, breeding far northward; in winter south to Mexico and Cuba, rare on the Atlantic coast.

Nest—On the ground, of grasses lined with down.

Eggs—Six or seven, dull greenish-yellow with obscure darker tints.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

Lee’s Addition:

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. (Luke 6:21 KJV)

Greater White-fronted Goose by Ashley Fisher (xeno-canto) recorded in U.K.

Flock flying over by Jonathon Jongsma (xeno-canto) recorded in U.S.

The Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) is a species of goose. The Greater White-fronted Goose is more closely related to the smaller Lesser White-fronted Goose (A. erythropus). In Europe it has been known as simply “White-fronted Goose”; in North America it is known as the Greater White-fronted Goose (or “Greater Whitefront”), and this name is also increasingly adopted internationally. It is named for the patch of white feathers bordering the base of its bill. But even more distinctive are the salt-and-pepper markings on the breast of adult birds, which is why the goose is colloquially called the “Specklebelly” in North America.

These Geese belong to the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family.

Greater White-fronted Geese are 25–32 in (64–81 cm) in length, have a 51–65 in (130–165 cm) wingspan and weigh 4.3–7.3 lb (1.93–3.31 kg). They have bright orange legs and mouse-coloured upper wing-coverts. They are smaller than Greylag Geese. As well as being larger than the Lesser White-fronted Goose, the Greater White-fronted Goose lacks the yellow eye-ring of that species, and the white facial blaze does not extend upwards so far as in Lesser.

The male is typical larger in size, both sexes are similar in appearance – greyish brown birds with light grey breasts dappled with dark brown to black blotches and bars. Both males and females also have a pinkish bill and orange legs and feet.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons frontalis) ©WikiC

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons frontalis) ©WikiC

The Greater White-fronted Goose is divided into four subspecies. The nominate subspecies A. a. albifrons breeds in the far north of Europe and Asia, and winters further south and west in Europe.
Two other restricted-range races occur in northern North America: A. a. gambeli in interior northwest Canada, and wintering on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, slightly larger than the nominate form, and Tule Goose, A. a. elgasi, in southwest Alaska, largest and longest-billed of all, wintering in California. All these races are similar in plumage, differing only in size.

Finally, the very distinct Greenland White-fronted Goose, A. a. flavirostris, breeding in western Greenland, is much darker overall, with only a very narrow white tip to the tail (broader on the other races), more black barring on its belly, and usually has an orange (not pink) bill. It winters in Ireland and western Scotland.

Birds breeding in the far east of Siberia east to Arctic Canada, wintering in the United States and Japan, have been described as A. a. frontalis on the basis of their slightly larger size and a marginally longer bill. Another putative East Asian subspecies albicans has also been described. A 2012 study has found that frontalis and albicans do not merit subspecies status, the former being synonymised with gambelli and the latter with the nominate subspecies; this study found that these forms had been named on the wintering grounds from specimens whose breeding grounds were unknown.

Recent ecological studies suggest the Greenland birds should probably be considered a separate species from A. albifrons. Of particular interest is its unusually long period of parental care and association, which may last several years and can include grandparenting, possibly uniquely among the Anseriformes.

Weather conditions are a key factor in the annual breeding success of White-fronted Geese. In the Arctic, the window of opportunity for nesting, incubating eggs, and raising a brood to flight state is open briefly, for about three months. Arriving in late May or early June, White-fronted Geese begin departing for fall staging areas in early September. This means that a delayed snowmelt or late spring storm can significantly reduce the birds’ reproductive success. (Wikipeedia with editing)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Turnstone

The Previous Article – The Summer Tanager

Wordless Birds


Greater White-fronted Goose – All About Birds

Greater White-fronted Goose – Wikipedia

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family


Vol 2 #2 – To A Water-Fowl

Black Swan and Wood Duck female - Lake Morton 6-28-12 by Lee

Black Swan and Wood Duck female


Whither, ’midst falling dew
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek’st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocky billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side.

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast—
The desert and illimitable air—
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and nest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.

Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He who from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

William Cullen Bryant.

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Storks know when to fly south. So do doves, swifts and thrushes. But my people do not know what I require them to do. (Jeremiah 8:7 NIrV)

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

Wikipedia say this of Waterfowl They “are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans.
They are strong swimmers with medium to large bodies. They have historically been an important food source, and continue to be hunted as game, or raised as poultry for meat and eggs. The domestic duck is sometimes kept as a pet.

Some definitions of the term ‘waterfowl’ include the saltwater shorebirds or waders, gulls, pelicans, and herons, as well as seabirds such as the albatross, but ‘fowl’ especially refers to birds used by humans for game.


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – Gambel’s Partridge

The Previous Article – The Turkey Vulture

Gospel Presentation


Anseriformes Order

Anatidae Family


Birds Vol 2 #2 – The Red Breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser from Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

Red-breasted Merganser from Birds Illustrated by Color Photography



HY this duck should be called red-breasted is not at first apparent, as at a distance the color can not be distinguished, but seen near, the reason is plain. It is a common bird in the United States in winter, where it is found in suitable localities in the months of May and June. It is also a resident of the far north, breeding abundantly in Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland. It is liberally supplied with names, as Red-Breasted Goosander or Sheldrake, Garbill, Sea Robin, etc.

There is a difference in opinion as to the nesting habits of the Red-Breast, some authorities claiming that, like the Wood Duck, the nest is placed in the cavity of a tree, others that it is usually found on the ground among brushwood, surrounded with tall grasses and at a short distance from water. Davie says that most generally it is concealed by a projecting rock or other object, the nest being made of leaves and mosses, lined with feathers and down, which are plucked from the breast of the bird. The observers are all probably correct, the bird adapting itself to the situation.

Fish is the chief diet of the Merganser, for which reason its flesh is rank and unpalatable. The Bird’s appetite is insatiable, devouring its food in such quantities that it has frequently to disgorge several times before it is able to rise from the water. This Duck can swallow fishes six or seven inches in length, and will attempt to swallow those of a larger size, choking in the effort.

The term Merganser is derived from the plan of the bird’s bill, which is furnished with saw teeth fitting into each other.

The eggs of the Red-Breasted Merganser vary from six to twelve, are oval in shape, and are of a yellowish or reddish-drab, sometimes a dull buffy-green.

You may have seen pictures of this Duck, which frequently figures in dining rooms on the ornamental panels of stuffed game birds, but none which could cause you to remember its life-like appearance. You here see before you an actual Red-Breasted Merganser.

Birds Vol 2 #2 – The Red Breasted Merganser

From col. J. G. Parker, Jr.

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) by Ray

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) by Ray

Lee’s Addition:

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

Another of one of the Lord’s neat birds. Mergansers are found in the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family. There are six of them in two Genera. The Hooded Merganser in Lophodytes genus and the Auckland (extinct), Brazilian, Common, Red-breasted, and Scaly-sided in the Mergus genus.

The adult Red-breasted Merganser is 20–24 in (51–62 cm) long with a 28–34 in (70–86 cm) wingspan. It has a spiky crest and long thin red bill with serrated edges. The male has a dark head with a green sheen, a white neck with a rusty breast, a black back, and white underparts. Adult females have a rusty head and a greyish body. The juvenile is like the female, but lacks the white collar and has a smaller white wing patch.

The call of the female is a rasping prrak prrak, while the male gives a feeble hiccup-and-sneeze display call. (from xeno-canto)

Red-breasted Mergansers dive and swim underwater. They mainly eat small fish, but also aquatic insects, crustaceans, and frogs.

Its breeding habitat is freshwater lakes and rivers across northern North America, Greenland, Europe, and Asia. It nests in sheltered locations on the ground near water. It is migratory and many northern breeders winter in coastal waters further south.

It has been claimed to be the fastest bird in level flight, reaching speeds of 161 km/h (100 mph), but is disputed whether the White-throated Needletail is faster, reportedly flying at 170 km/h (105 mph).

Here is a video of a Common Merganser flipping his feet after diving for food that was given him at the Zoo Miami Wings of Asia Aviary – by me.


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Yellow Legs

The Previous Article – The Kentucky Warbler

Sharing The Gospel


Birds Vol 2 #1 – The American Scoter

Black or American Scoter (Melanitta americana), From Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

White-winged Scoter, From Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897



HE specimen we give of the American Scoter is one of unusual rarity and beauty of plumage. It was seen off the government pier, in Chicago, in November, 1895, and has been much admired.

The Scoter has as many names as characteristics, being called the Sea Coot, the Butter-billed, and the Hollow-billed Coot. The plumage of the full grown male is entirely black, while the female is a sooty brown, becoming paler below. She is also somewhat smaller.

This Duck is sometimes found in great numbers along the entire Atlantic coast where it feeds on small shell fish which it secures by diving. A few nest in Labrador, and in winter it is found in New Jersey, on the Great Lakes, and in California. The neighborhoods of marshes and ponds are its haunts, and in the Hudson Bay region the Scoter nests in June and July.

The nest is built on the ground near water. Coarse grass, feathers, and down are commonly used to make it comfortable, while it is well secreted in hollows in steep banks and cliffs. The eggs are from six to ten, of a dull buff color.

Prof. Cooke states that on May 2, 1883, fifty of these ducks were seen at Anna, Union county, Illinois, all busily engaged in picking up millet seed that had just been sown. If no mistake of identification was made in this case, the observation apparently reveals a new fact in the habits of the species, which has been supposed to feed exclusively in the water, and to subsist generally on fishes and other aquatic animal food.

From col. F. M. Woodruff.

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER.Oidemia deglandi. Other names: “American Velvet Scoter,” “White-winged Coot,” “Uncle Sam Coot.”

Range—Northern North America; breeding in Labrador and the fur countries; south in winter.

Nest—On the ground, beneath bushes.

Eggs—Six to ten; pale, dull buff.

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) by Ray

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) by Ray

Lee’s Addition:

I have been hunted like a bird by those who were my enemies without cause; (Lamentations 3:52 ESV)

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 ESV)

The article is titled “American Scoter” but the photos and information is mostly about the “White-winged Scoter”. I have provided information on both of those Scoters. I have never seen any of the Scoters that I remember. They are in the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans family. I love those eyes of the White-winged Scoter.

The scoters are stocky seaducks in the genus Melanitta. The drakes are mostly black and have swollen bills. Females are brown.

They breed in the far north of Europe, Asia and North America, and winter further south in temperate zones of those continents. They form large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.

Their lined nests are built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. These species dive for crustaceans and molluscs.

There are five species, grouped into two subgenera:

  • subgenus Oidemia (Black and Common Scoters)
  • subgenus Melanitta (Surf, Velvet and White-winged Scoters)

The presumed fossil “scoter” Melanitta ceruttii which lived in California is now placed in the genus Histrionicus.

The adult female Black or American Scoter averages about 2.1 lbs.(980 grams ) and 18 inches (45 cm) in length, while the adult male is on average 2.4 lbs. (1100 grams) and 19 inches (49 cm) in length. It is characterized by its bulky shape and large bill. The male is all black with a very bulbous bill which is mostly yellow,a good relation with the common scoter. The female is a brown bird with pale cheeks, very similar to female Common Scoter. This is America’s only black duck, although the female may have some yellow around the nostrils.

This species can be distinguished from other scoters, apart from Common, by the lack of white anywhere on the drake, and the more extensive pale areas on the female.

Black Scoter and Common Scoter have diagnostically distinct vocalisations

The lined nest is built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. 5-7 eggs are laid. Each eggs weighs from 2-2.6 oz (60-74 grams), or 8% of the females body weight. The incubation period may range from 27 to 31 days. Females brood their young extensively for about 3 weeks, after which the still flightless young must fend for themselves.

The White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) or (Melanitta fusca deglandi) is a large sea duck.It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. This is the largest species of scoter. Females range from 2.1-4.2 lb (950-1950 grams) and 19-22 inches (48–56 cm), averaging 2.6 lb (1180 grams) and 21 inches (52.3 cm). She is brown with pale head patches. The male ranges from 3-4.7 lb (1360-2128 grams) and from 21-24 inches (53–60 cm), averaging 3.6 lb (1380 grams) and 22 inches (55 cm). He is all black, except for white around the eye and a white speculum. This scoter’s bill has a black base and a large knob.

The white patches are visible but not conspicuous when the wings are folded.

There are a number of differing characteristic of the Eastern Siberian race and the American race from Alaska and Canada to west of the Hudson Bay. Males of the American subspecies have browner flanks, dark yellow coloration of most of the bill and a less tall bill knob, approaching the Velvet Scoter. The Asian form has a very tall knob at the base of its mostly orange-yellow bill. Females are identical in the field.

The White-winged Scoter was named for French zoologist Dr. Côme-Damien Degland (1787–1856).

It was formerly considered to be conspecific with the Velvet Scoter, and some taxonomists still regard it as so. These two species, and the Surf Scoter, are placed in the subgenus Melanitta, distinct from the subgenus Oidemia, Black and Common Scoters.

The White-winged Scoter breeds over the far north of Asia east of the Yenisey Basin, and North America. It winters further south in temperate zones, on the Great Lakes, the coasts of the northern USA and the southern coasts of Canada, and Asia as far south as China. It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) ©BirdPhotos

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) ©BirdPhotos

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Snowy Heron

Previous Article – The American Woodcock

Gospel Presentation


Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans

Scoters – Wikipedia

Black or American Scoter – Wikipedia

White-winged Scoter – Wikipedia


Birds Vol 2 #1 – Wood Duck



From col. F. M. Woodruff.


A great many people think that this is the most beautiful bird of North America. It is called Wood Duck because it usually makes its nest in the hollow of a tree that overhangs the water. If it can find a squirrel’s or woodpecker’s hole in some stump or tree, there it is sure to nest.

A gentleman who delighted in watching the Wood Duck, tells about one that built her nest in the hollow of a tree that hung over the water. He was anxious to see how the little ones, when hatched, would get down.

In a few days he knew that the ducklings were out, for he could hear their pee, pee, pee. They came to the edge of the nest, one by one, and tumbled out into the water.

You know a duck can swim as soon as it comes out of the egg.

Sometimes the nest is in the hollow of a tree that is a short distance from the water.

Now how do you suppose the ducklings get there as they do?

If the nest is not far from the ground, the mother bird lets them drop from it on the dried grass and leaves under the tree. She then carries them in her bill, one by one, to the water and back to the nest.

If the nest should be far from the ground, she carries them down one by one.

This same gentleman says that he once saw a Wood Duck carry down thirteen little ones in less than ten minutes. She took them in her bill by the back of the neck or the wing.

When they are a few days old she needs only to lead the way and the little ones will follow.

The Wood Duck is also called Summer Duck. This is because it does not stay with us during the winter, as most ducks do.

It goes south to spend the winter and comes back north early in the spring.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Dan

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Dan



UITE the most beautiful of the native Ducks, with a a richness of plumage which gives it a bridal or festive appearance, this bird is specifically named Spousa, which means betrothed. It is also called Summer Duck, Bridal Duck, Wood Widgeon, Acorn Duck and Tree Duck.

It is a fresh water fowl, and exclusively so in the selection of its nesting haunts. It inhabits the whole of temperate North America, north to the fur countries, and is found in Cuba and sometimes in Europe. Its favorite haunts are wooded bottom-lands, where it frequents the streams and ponds, nesting in hollows of the largest trees. Sometimes a hole in a horizontal limb is chosen that seems too small to hold the Duck’s plump body, and occasionally it makes use of the hole of an Owl or Woodpecker, the entrance to which has been enlarged by decay.

Wilson visited a tree containing a nest of a Wood or Summer Duck, on the banks of Tuckahoe river, New Jersey. The tree stood on a declivity twenty yards from the water, and in its hollow and broken top, about six feet down, on the soft decayed wood were thirteen eggs covered with down from the mother’s breast. The eggs were of an exact oval shape, the surface smooth and fine grained, of a yellowish color resembling old polished ivory. This tree had been occupied by the same pair, during nesting time, for four successive years. The female had been seen to carry down from the nest thirteen young, one by one, in less than ten minutes. She caught them in her bill by the wing or back of the neck, landed them safely at the foot of the tree, and finally led them to the water. If the nest be directly over the water, the little birds as soon as hatched drop into the water, breaking their fall by extending their wings.

Many stories are told of their attachment to their nesting places. For several years one observer saw a pair of Wood Ducks make their nest in the hollow of a hickory which stood on the bank, half a dozen yards from a river. In preparing to dam the river near this point, in order to supply water to a neighboring city, the course of the river was diverted, leaving the old bed an eighth of a mile behind, notwithstanding which the ducks bred in the old place, the female undaunted by the distance which she would have to travel to lead her brood to the water.

While the females are laying, and afterwards when sitting, the male usually perches on an adjoining limb and keeps watch. The common note of the drake is peet-peet, and when standing sentinel, if apprehending danger, he makes a noise not unlike the crowing of a young cock, oe-eek. The drake does not assist in sitting on the eggs, and the female is left in the lurch in the same manner as the Partridge.

The Wood Duck has been repeatedly tamed and partially domesticated. It feeds freely on corn meal soaked in water, and as it grows, catches flies with great dexterity.


WOOD DUCK.Aix sponsa. Coloring varied; most beautiful of ducks. Other names: “Summer Duck,” “Bridal Duck,” “Wood Widgeon,” “Tree Duck.”

Range—North America. Breeds from Florida to Hudson’s Bay; winters south.

Nest—Made of grasses, usually placed in a hole in tree or stump.

Eggs—Eight to fourteen; pale, buffy white.

Wood Duck by Dan at Lake Hollingsworth

Wood Duck by Dan at Lake Hollingsworth

Lee’s Addition:

The Wood Duck is in the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family. The Aix genus includes the Wood Duck and also the beautiful Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata). “The adult male has distinctive multicoloured iridescent plumage and red eyes,with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads.” When the male is in non-breeding plumage the colors are more like the female, but with some differences. Here is a photo taken yesterday at Lake Morton of a male Wood Duck.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) Male Lake Morton 8-3-12

Wood Duck Male Lake Morton 8-3-12

Here is a picture of the female I also photographed yesterday.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck Female Lake Morton 8-3-12

The male’s call is a rising whistle, “jeeeeee”; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, “oo-eek,” when flushed, and a sharp “cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek” for an alarm call.

Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States and western Mexico. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions, produce two broods in a single season—the only North American duck that can do so.

The population of the Wood Duck was in serious decline in the late 19th century as a result of severe habitat loss and market hunting both for meat and plumage for the ladies’ hat market in Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century Wood Ducks had virtually disappeared from much of their former range. In response to the Migratory Bird Treaty established in 1916 and enactment of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, wood duck populations began to recover slowly. By ending unregulated hunting and taking measures to protect remaining habitat, wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s. The development of the artificial nesting box in the 1930s gave an additional boost to Wood Duck production.

Landowners as well as park and refuge managers can encourage Wood Ducks by building Wood Duck nest boxes near lakes, ponds, and streams. Fulda, Minnesota has adopted the Wood Duck as an unofficial mascot, and a large number of nest boxes can be found in the area.

Expanding North American Beaver populations throughout the Wood Duck’s range have also helped the population rebound as beavers create an ideal forested wetland habitat for Wood Ducks.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Anhinga or Snake Bird

Previous Article – The Canvas-Back Duck

Kids, You are Special


Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans

Wood Duck – All About Birds

Wood Duck – Wikipedia

Bet you never knew ducklings bounce – by xaandria86 – YouTube


Birds Vol 2 #1 – The Canvas-back Duck

The Canvasback Duck, Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

The Canvasback Duck, Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897



HITE-BACK, Canard Cheval, (New Orleans,) Bull-Neck, and Red-Headed Bull-Neck, are common names of the famous Canvas-Back, which nests from the northern states, northward to Alaska. Its range is throughout nearly all of North America, wintering from the Chesapeake southward to Guatemala.

“The biography of this duck,” says Mabel Osgood Wright, “belongs rather to the cook-book than to a bird list,” even its most learned biographers referring mainly to its “eatable qualities,” Dr. Coues even taking away its character in that respect when he says “there is little reason for squealing in barbaric joy over this over-rated and generally under-done bird; not one person in ten thousand can tell it from any other duck on the table, and only then under the celery circumstances,” referring to the particular flavor of its flesh, when at certain seasons it feeds on vallisneria, or “water celery,” which won its fame. This is really not celery at all, but an eel-grass, not always found through the range of the Canvas-Back. When this is scarce it eats frogs, lizards, tadpoles, fish, etc., so that, says Mrs. Osgood, “a certificate of residence should be sold with every pair, to insure the inspiring flavor.”

The opinion held as to the edible qualities of this species varies greatly in different parts of the country. No where has it so high a reputation as in the vicinity of Chesapeake Bay, where the alleged superiority of its flesh is ascribed to the abundance of “water celery.” That this notion is erroneous is evident from the fact that the same plant grows in far more abundance in the upper Mississippi Valley, where also the Canvas-Back feeds on it. Hence it is highly probable that fashion and imagination, or perhaps a superior style of cooking and serving, play a very important part in the case. In California, however, where the “water celery” does not grow, the Canvas-Back is considered a very inferior bird for the table.

It has been hunted on Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries with such inconsiderate greed that its numbers have been greatly reduced, and many have been driven to more southern waters.

In and about Baltimore, the Canvas-Back, like the famous terrapin, is in as high favor for his culinary excellence, as are the women for beauty and hospitality. To gratify the healthy appetite of the human animal this bird was doubtless sent by a kind Providence, none the less mindful of the creature comforts and necessities of mankind than of the purely aesthetic senses.


CANVAS-BACK.Aythya vallisneria. Other names: “White-Back,” “Bull-Neck,” “Red-Headed Bull-Neck.”

Range—North America. Breeds only in the interior, from northwestern states to the Arctic circle; south in winter to Guatemala.

Nest—On the ground, in marshy lakesides.

Eggs—Six to ten; buffy white, with bluish tinge.

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) by Daves BirdingPix

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

The Canvas-Back Duck is now the Canvasback (Aythya valisineria). Wikipedia (with editing) says The Canvasback is the largest of the North American diving ducks, that ranges from between 19–22 in (48–56 centimetres) long and weighs approximately 1.90–3.50 lbs (862–1,588 gram), with a wingspan of 31–35 in (79–89 centimetres). The canvasback has a distinctive wedge-shaped head and long graceful neck. The adult male (drake) has a black bill, a chestnut red head and neck, a black breast, a grayish back, black rump, and a blackish brown tail. The drake’s sides, back, and belly are white with fine vermiculation resembling the weave of a canvas, which gave rise to the bird’s common name. The bill is blackish and the legs and feet are bluish-gray. The iris is bright red in the spring, but duller in the winter. The adult female (hen) also has a black bill, a light brown head and neck, grading into a darker brown chest and foreback. The sides, flanks, and back are grayish brown. The bill is blackish and the legs and feet are bluish-gray. Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.

The breeding habitat of the Canvasback is in North America prairie potholes. The bulky nest is built from vegetation in a marsh and lined with down. Loss of nesting habitat has caused populations to decline. (That and apparently the killing of them per the article.) It prefers to nest over water on permanent prairie marshes surrounded by emergent vegetation, such as cattail and bulrushes, which provide protective cover. Other important breeding areas are the subarctic river deltas in Saskatchewan and the interior of Alaska.

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) with young ©WikiC

Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) with young ©WikiC

It has a clutch size of approximately 5-11 eggs that are a greenish drab. The chicks are covered in down at hatching and able to leave the nest soon after. The Canvasback sometimes lays its eggs in other Canvasback nests and Redheads often parasitize Canvasback nests.

In the early 1950s it was estimated that there were 225,000 Canvasbacks wintering in the Chesapeake Bay; this represented one-half of the entire North American population. By 1985, there were only 50,000 ducks wintering there, or one-tenth of the population. Canvasbacks were extensively hunted around the turn of the 19th to 20th century, but federal hunting regulations restrict their harvest, so hunting was ruled out as a cause for the decline. Scientists have now concluded that the decline in duck populations was due to the decline in  submerged aquatic vegetation acreage. Today the population has stabilized and is even increasing slightly, although it is nowhere near previous levels.


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Wood Duck

Previous Article – Bird Song-July

Wordless Birds


Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family

Canvasback – Wikipedia