Although the old-squaw is a duck of extremely small range, it is covered here because it is such a "cute" bird, one which, if you are lucky enough to see and will offer many inspiring memories.
Their wintering grounds extend from South Carolina north to Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, breeding and summering in the very far north including the northern shores of Greenland and Iceland.
They are a small, brown and white duck with a cocky little semi-crested head and a pin tail that is haughtily waved in an almost upright position when they swim. They are a fast flying bird, working the shore in compact flocks, whizzing and buzzing the shoreline in almost snipe-like fashion.
They like the open waters as well as the bays and inland waterways. Quite often, while in search of food, they will swim the waves in a long irregular line, until some one of the group finds food. At the signal, they descend one by one to feed, but always keep a certain amount of their numbers on the water to sight danger.
They are not a good duck for the table, their food being almost ninety percent of animal origin. That, combined with their salt water haunt, makes them a duck to see, appreciate and enjoy rather than to shoot, unless a specimen is wanted for mounting purposes.
Many states have this bird off the hunting list, so, as in all cases, each season, check with the game laws. The sighting of these ducks will be a pleasant accident. You might be out coot shooting or possibly a few might come by when you are out after canvasbacks.
Conservation can do little for them, as their nesting areas are beyond control of man and their southward migration is so limited.
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