February 25, 2021
Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Here's another sighting from December's VMNH Christmas Bird Count: Aythya collaris, the ring-necked duck!
You might wonder why these ducks are called "ring-necked" when there do not appear to be any rings around their necks. In fact, there is a very faint cinnamon ring that is difficult to observe in anything but the best lighting (which was not the case when I took this picture early in the morning). There is, however, a bright white ring surrounding the male's bill, so maybe they should have been called ring-billed ducks.
These ducks breed in Canada and travel to the southern U.S. and Mexico for the winter, although they can be found year-round in parts of the Pacific Northwest. If you'd like to spot one in Virginia, check small bodies of water during the winter months. They love ponds, small lakes, marshes, and even flooded fields. You'll likely see them diving to feed on mollusks, insects, and aquatic plants.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com)
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!