A Little White Duck

FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, June 11, 2002

A few miles North of Tisdale this morning I spotted this lone white duck among a group of Malards.

I turned the car around and stopped on the opposite side of the road to the dug out and when I lowered the window the sound of the radio put half of the malards in the air and when I got out of the car the other half took flight but the white duck remained in the water accompanied by a chorous of redwinged blackbirds.

I made my way through the wet grass to the fence and the white bird simply cruised up and down the pond on the far side. The limitations of the camera's lens are aparent here as I badly needed a telephoto to get the details. But it was clear enough with the naked eye that this bird had black markings at the wing tips which are folded back in swimming position.

Consulting the book when I got home I discovered for certainty what I already knew and that is that there are no native white ducks in this part of North America and so what I had seen was not a duck at all.

The interesting size difference between a Ross Goose and a Malard is that there is no real difference but the Ross Goose favours the Alberta flyway and is unlikely to be here In Saskatchewan. Indeed this goose must be a Snow Goose probably grounded by the goose flight surgeon for medical reasons and forced to remain behind until he or she gets better. To support this supposition is the fact that this bird did not follow the malards into the air but remained alone in the water.

Getting back to size, the malade can be 25 inches and the snow goose is 28 to 31 so sitting in the water the difference is very small and it is reasonable to assume that this is an injured but safe snow goose.

The song is by the late Burl Ives and you require
QuickTime to hear it.