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American Wigeon

Mareca americana

In olden days the American Wigeon was called “Baldplate” because of their white crown. These birds breed mostly in Canada and Alaska, but also in the northern tier of the USA. The American Wigeon has a shorter bill than other dabblers. We believe this to be an adaptation to help them harvest the plant food they prefer.

The calls made by these birds is a wheezing, or whistling sound. It is not unlike the calls of the whistling ducks.

While science does not list the population of these birds as threatened, their numbers have been dropping by about 2% per year for the past half century, resulting in a 65% over that period. Drought and wet cycles affect the population, but loss of habitat because of agricultural practices seems to be a powerful factor.

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