The Shoveler Mating Game

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Northern shovelers are common inhabitants of our local wetlands and marshes during the spring and summer, where they mate and nest. They’re gorgeous birds, the males being easily recognizable by their bright green head, yellow eyes, chestnut and white bodies, black back, and most prominently their long, broad bills. It’s these oversized bills that give them their name, and they are prominent on both males and females.

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To Dabble or to Dive?

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

West Valley is home for a huge variety of migratory and resident ducks and other waterfowl. While some waterfowl are waders (e.g., sandhill cranes, great blue herons, dowitchers) or skimmers (none around here, although some gulls do this occasionally), ducks can be broadly separated into two groups based on how they obtain food: dabblers and divers.

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