The gadwall is a world traveler, and is found in all but South America and Australia. One of the most prolific birds, it offers great opportunities for the naturalist. Despite much encroachment of civilization, the gadwall stands up in defiance to it all.
Our western and central regions get the heaviest flights of these birds. The author has seen clouds of them during their wintering sessions in Florida. They are later migrants in the spring than most other ducks, preferring to make sure that the ice is out. They nest later, quite often into early summer.
I have come upon their nests while fishing in the northern states. They hit the air trail sooner than the rest when the first signs of fall appear.
On the water they appear as a medium-sized duck, of general greyish-brown hue, and can be confused in bad light with the blackduck. Their wings sport irregular patches of cinnamon, black and off-white, but other than that they are rather drab in appearance. They make up for this by their cocky attitude and constant nervous activity while on the water.
They decoy more easily than most other ducks and do not become frightened quite as fast as blacks, teal or pintails. They are the amateur hunter's duck, for they are not particularly fast fliers.
Foodwise, they are similar to the blackduck, though not quite so tasty.
Most hunters pass them up, due to the low bag limits, preferring to let them come into the blind and the decoys with the hope that other species, seeing them, will be attracted.
to return to puddle ducks from gadwall click here