King of the Ducks

March 3, 2017

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Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

Named by Alexander Wilson, Aythya valisineria, the species name is also the species name for the plant wild celery, a favored food item of Canvasbacks.  Canvasback, the name given to this duck because of its pale gray back and white sides with a wavelike pattern resembling canvas fabric.  A close look will show one of the males with mud on its face obtained from its foraging habit of diving in shallow waters for roots, tubers, and the basal parts of aquatic plants but they also eat aquatic insects. This species is a favorite of duck hunters and chefs and males weigh and average of 2.75 pounds. Chico birds are on their way north, a flock of about 30 at Upper Twin Pond.