Wild Thing Wednesday is sending another fall migrant on its journey south with the green-winged teal. The smallest dabbling duck to visit Horicon Marsh, green-winged teal mostly nest in Canada and Alaska, stopping through the marsh for a pit stop in the spring and fall migrations. Male green winged teal are easy to spot with their red-brown heads with a prominent green stripe, while females will be much duller and mottled in color. Both will have an easy to spot green patch on their wings (called a speculum) that is visible while they are in flight. Field marks like this are extremely useful for waterfowl hunters, who need to be able to recognize their target while it is still in the air. Green-winged teal will spend the winter in the southern United States and Mexico, sometimes in flocks thousands of ducks in size. They are also much less loyal to mates and locations than many other water birds, selecting a new mate each year, and often changing their nesting or overwintering locations in response to available habitat and foods. This mobile behavior is on full display right now, as the fall migration is rapidly approaching it’s peak at Horicon Marsh.
Photo Credit: Jack Bartholmai