The pintail,If you reside west of the Great Lakes and in the northern states across to Oregon or north to Alaska, along the lower East and West Coasts or down into Mexico, you stand a good chance to see one of the prettiest flying ducks of the entire list.
The pintail is a duck that wanted to be a goose. He has a long neck, longer than any other duck, and lets you know it in flight and when feeding on land or in the water. He also sports a pin tail, usually made of two or three sharp tail feathers, which extend a few inches beyond the ring of tail feathers.
He is a medium-sized alert-looking duck with a bronze-brown head, white neck and breast with brownish-rust wings. Because of the long neck and the spiked tail he cannot possibly be mistaken for any other duck.
"Sprigs," as they are called, are fast erratic fliers, working the winds in irregular bunchy flights that seem to keep no air form, but vary constantly as they twist and turn, often without any apparent reason.
Exceedingly shy, they will circle a pond several times before coming in. At just about the time you have your camera or gun set for action, something will scare them and they will instantly fly almost straight up and away.
They are quite often found in company with mallards, teal and other pond ducks and they will decoy readily to either black or mallard "blocks."
Pintails seem to be in good supply. They migrate very early in the spring, almost before one would think it was time to see any bird coming north. They are also an early breeder, laying as many as ten eggs at a time.
One of the prettiest set of pictures can be had when they are tipping up, feeding underwater. Their tails dance in the sunlight. Then, when they come up, and swallow their food they will literally stand on the water, fan their wings, stick out their neck as if to stretch it a bit for further feeding.
They do not breed in the Arctic, but many a nest is come upon in the resort areas of our northern states and in Canada.
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