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Preparing for the spring migration

Sunday, February 12, 2012

(Photo)
Both Canada geese and mallard ducks are migratory birds. These two bird species eat much the same food, live in the same kinds of habitat and migrate at the same time in autumn and spring. Although they are commonly seen together on the ground or swimming in the water, they do not fly together.

This photo shows Canada geese (in foreground) and mallard ducks at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge on Feb 4. These birds are feeding and resting in preparation for the spring migration, which has begun.

Understanding the fluctuating range of Canada geese ...

1. They maintain permanent residence (remain all year long) across the northern half of the United States. This includes Southeast Missouri.

2. Their summer breeding range extends into most of Canada.

3. Their fall migration extends their range south across the southern half of the U.S. and into parts of Mexico.

4. Their spring migration extends their range back north into Canadian breeding grounds.

Understanding the fluctuating range of mallard ducks ...

1. They maintain permanent residence across almost all of the U.S. This includes Southeast Missouri.

2. Their summer breeding range extends into most of Canada and Alaska.

3. Their fall migration extends their range south across the U.S. and parts of Mexico and Cuba.

4. Their spring migration extends their range back north into Canadian and Alaskan breeding grounds.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.


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Aaron Horrell
Through the Woods
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