Flickr photo showcase: Ducks in flight

10/24/2013 | 1

Today we are happy to share a bit of bird eye candy: gorgeous photos of flying ducks.

We found each of the images below in our popular Flickr group. We thank the photographers for not only posting them to our group but also for allowing us to present them here on BirdWatchingDaily.com. Enjoy!

Wood Duck

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Wood Duck ©2013 Gord Sawyer

I’ve seen lots of great photos of drake Wood Ducks over the years. In this photo by Gord Sawyer, I found two field marks that I previously had not noticed: black barring on the underside of the wing and blue tips of the primaries. Cool!

Mallard

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Mallard ©2013 Jessica Kirste

I’m as guilty as any birder for seeing ducks on a pond or lakeshore and thinking, “Just Mallards.” But not anymore: This dramatic shot by Jessica Kirste makes me appreciate the beauty of our most common duck more than ever.

Northern Shovelers

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Northern Shovelers ©2011 Tom Ryan

Most duck species are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have different plumages. These Northern Shovelers are a great example. The mostly brown female flies ahead of a colorful male. Their large spatulate bills are distinctive. Tom Ryan shot the photo at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson, Arizona, Hotspot Near You No. 79.

Long-tailed Duck

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Long-tailed Duck ©2011 Greg Schneider

A couple of long tail feathers make the males of this arctic-nesting species distinctive at any time of year. This shot by Greg Schneider shows the male’s winter plumage exceptionally well: mostly white head and body, dark cheek patch, breast, and wings, and a pink-tipped bill. A stunner!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

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Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ©2011 Greg Schneider

From Florida comes this dazzling shot of a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, also by Greg Schneider. In addition to the red bill and rusty neck, I love seeing the various shades of black, brown, and tan on the leading edge of the wings — colors that are hidden when the bird is standing still.

Why ducks matter

I love ducks not only because they are beautiful. When I see them, I’m reminded of the importance of conservation. After all, the most effective bird-conservation tool in the United States is the Duck Stamp. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sale of Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

I recently bought the 2013-14 stamp depicting a Common Goldeneye, and I can’t wait to purchase next year’s stamp showing a pair of Canvasbacks. You can buy Duck Stamps at many post offices, national wildlife refuges, sporting goods and outdoor stores, and on the U.S. Postal Service website. What a great investment! — Matt Mendenhall, Managing Editor

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