Thursday, October 07, 2010

American Wigeons

American Wigeon is one of the characteristic waterfowl of New Jersey's coast during the colder months. These ducks breed in freshwater wetlands of the prairie pothole region in western Canada and the north central U.S. During migration and winter, they move to larger bodies of water that are less likely to freeze, primarily lakes and estuaries with plenty of subaquatic vegetation. A site like Cape May's Lighthouse Pond works very well for them since it is a sheltered spot that only freezes completely during the coldest weather.

Wigeons are smaller ducks than Mallards, but are members of the same genus (Anas). This photo may exaggerate the size difference since the bank slopes down somewhat from the reeds and the camera was on a plane parallel to the two ducks.