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von Humboldt

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  1. All are mallards. The ones with yellow bills are males in eclipse plumage which may be what has you thinking black duck hybrid.
  2. Thanks for the information. Grebes and other birds (and I believe some sea ducks) do have bill color change in the breeding season. Also, I was aware dabbling ducks bills can be somewhat paler when not in full breeding plumage. I guess with respect to the Gadwall, they are not in my area except mid-November until March and I was not aware the males bill was ever anything but solid black. Thanks for informing me and I will do some research in this area.
  3. While it does not seem wise to argue with Sibley, being a retired attorney I will do so or at least ask for further information. First, once a Gadwall matures his bill is black and will remain so for the rest of his life. (A male gadwall's plumage will be slightly more vibrant in an older duck and their breeding plumage doesn't peek until February whereas other dabblers are generally in full breeding plumage by January 1, but I do not believe this is relevant to the present question.) If anyone can point me to a respected source that says a dabbling duck's bill color changes color after maturity please do so as this would be enlightening information to me. Second, what is meant by "non-breeding adult male?" To me this would be eclipse plumage which would not affect the bill color. I believe that all male dabbling ducks mature in their first year and retain their "colorful" plumage until after breeding season and at least attempt to mate. So, unless those two gadwalls were born this year they must be female. I enjoy learning so I sincerely welcome anyone who can point out any inaccuracies in the above statement.
  4. Any adult male will have a black bill.
  5. Based on the shortness of the bill and appearance of the face, I believe its a juvenile domestic. Sounds like maybe the whole brood dined at that restaurant.
  6. Bill color indicates these are both female even if in eclipse plumage.
  7. I agree with akandula - last photo is Gadwalls
  8. Here's a link to a great article by Tony Leukering. Differences in appearance begins on page 9. https://ebird.org/content/ebird/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/eBird_Muddled_Ducks.pdf
  9. I believe the color (which appears to be rusty) is due to ferrous staining attributable to the water where it's been feeding.
  10. While Fish Crows are a little smaller than American Crows, it is very unlikely you could tell the difference by size unless they were perched right next to each other. You would clearly recognize their call as being different. Crows mate for life and last year's brood helps raise this year's. I found it unusual that you did not see any other crows around the nest helping out, but that could be explained by these being young birds or something happened to last year's brood. I surely don't have the expertise in picture identification that many posters on this board possess, but relying on your statements (especially your recent post) I highly doubt the nesters are crows. I'm the one who first mentioned Golden Eagle as a possibility but at that time I did not realize they were migratory birds. While I would agree that that would make it extremely unlikely they are nesting in central Mississippi, they were definitely not unusual to be seen (at least in fall and winter) along the Pearl River in south central Mississippi in the 1970s. They are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE. Do bald eagles nest before getting their adult plumage? I don't think so but someone correct me if I'm wrong. Bald Eagle nesting in Mississippi is relatively common especially Sardis Lake and the other large reservoirs. I believe you need to contact Nick Winstead or the poster who suggested him to have them observe the bird.
  11. I didn't mean to imply that was a positive ID of Golden Eagle. The nest, site, and silhouette are compatible with the golden eagle. Being from central Mississippi I assume you know the size of a crow and this bird, in your opinion, is much larger than that – huge size is very apparent when seeing an eagle. The only other large black birds in the area are vultures and they nest on the ground. So, I'm assuming the very dark color is caused by the distance and the lighting. I didn't realize they didn't nest in central Mississippi but I know I use to occasionally see them there back in the 60s and 70s at my grandparents farm. If you have seen the bird well enough to eliminate a red tail or other large Hawk, my best guess would be Golden Eagle.
  12. Nesting site, silhouette,and your size description indicate golden eagle
  13. After further review, I believe birdbrain22 is correct – it's a Green wing X Blue wing. I didn't realize the slender white crescent would cause so much white on a cross with a Green wing but apparently it does. Numerous pictures on the Internet purporting to be such a hybrid show that amount of white brushed with a little bit of auburn just like the duck in the original post.
  14. Very interesting. I'd say male hybrid Green winged teal and maybe wood duck
  15. I believe it is a female Hooded Merganser. The head shape, white belly plus the habitat is compatible.
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