Of all the diving-ducks unfortunately, the redhead, one of our grandest and once one of our most common game birds is in a serious downward cycle of abundance. He has been removed from the list of shoot-able waterfowl, and not completely due to hunting pressure.
Despite the sportsmen's hard fight and cooperation from government and private agencies, the redhead's nesting areas, due to drainage and lack of water, are in bad shape.
These areas are in North and South Dakota, Utah and to some extent in southern Oregon, northern California, and particularly in the neighboring provinces of Canada. It is true that all duck species depend on the good nesting season in order to produce sufficient ducks to maintain the line. When these areas are troubled, the birds suffer. The redhead is a case in point. Cutting out the shooting of this species will never help much to bring it back, but, in times of great stress birds have to be protected by any and all means".
The only other diving-duck that could possibly be mistaken for the redhead is the canvasback, although even a glimpse of the two birds would spell the difference. The little redhead has a round cinnamon-colored head, the canvasback's is larger and slanted into the long heavy bill.
They and the birds that follow are classed as diving-ducks, as opposed to puddle ducks.Their feet are placed farther back on their bodies so that they can swim under water to get their food. As a consequence, they cannot bounce from the water as readily as, say, the mallard, but beat their wings and work their legs in the forward takeoff, in order to get into the air. As divers, they have a great deal more and varied food available to them.
Their wintering grounds are found along the East Coast from Delaware to Georgia, but the bulk of the migration centers west of the Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. They travel in V-shaped formations, though irregular bunchy flights often swing in behind the conventional wedge.
They are a prolific duck and when conditions allow, there would be no need to worry, as they lay up to ten or fifteen eggs, and sometimes two clutches a year, if conditions favor.
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