The American Wigeon is a grazer. Its bill is narrow, with a pointed tip like that of a goose. When feeding on water plants, a wigeon grabs a leaf and rips it off with its strong bill, rather than using the straining apparatus typical of dabbling ducks. Take a field trip with your local Audubon and see if you can spot a wigeon.
American Wigeon, Feathered Lawnmower
Written by Dennis Paulson
This is BirdNote!
[American Wigeon calls, preferably a flock]
These rubber-ducky sounds come from a flock of American Wigeons, trim brown ducks with pale blue bills and big white wing-patches. Their squeaky whistles mark their presence. [American Wigeon call]
Wigeons are grazers, rather than filtering food through serrated bills like other dabbling ducks. Their bill is narrow, with a pointed tip like that of a goose. When feeding on water plants, a wigeon grabs a leaf and rips it off with its strong bill, rather than using the straining apparatus typical of dabbling ducks. [American Wigeon call]
Wigeons’ great fondness for grass brings flocks of them to graze on lawns adjacent to city lakes. The birds become tamer through the winter, and you can get close enough to see how they cut blades of grass — like feathered lawnmowers.
A special treat for experienced birdwatchers is to spot a Eurasian Wigeon grazing alongside the others. Look carefully through the whole flock for a duck with a reddish head and gray body, and you just might find one.
But experienced or not, you can learn more about wigeons — both American and Eurasian — on our website, BirdNote.org. [American Wigeon call]
Support for BirdNote comes from the Port Aransas Tourism Bureau. Info on February's Whooping Crane Festival and hundreds of species of birds to see year-round at visitportaransas.com.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. American Wigeon call recorded by A.A. Allen. Eurasian Wigeon call recorded by M.P. McChesney
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org November 2012/2018/2019 Narrator: Michael Stein
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