Growing up in the Annapolis Valley, and living on a river just above where it emptied out into the Minas Basin, we used to have lots of waterfowl around our farm. In the spring, we used to see skeins of migrating Canada geese on their trip north to their nesting grounds. In the summer, there would be a few nesting birds in our marsh, but mainly shorebirds. In the fall, we used to see migrating birds going south, which would begin with Green wing and Blue wing Teal, and then the geese on their way south. But, year around, we used to see black ducks.
The American Black Duck is now less common in our end of Nova Scotia than when I was young – as the combination of climate change pushes them north, but also as the Mallard has extended its range and numbers, which has pushed Black Ducks out in some areas. As well, Mallards will cross mate with Black Ducks and so overall they are in some peril.
This week, then, it was fun to be looking out over a local marsh here in Yarmouth County and see a good number of Black Ducks. These two showed the wariness associated with the species, as they jumped even though I was quite some distance away. The Black Duck is a beautiful wild bird, and to me is one of the most gorgeous sights in our marsh.
There are people working to help preserve the Black Duck – when we lived in Shelburne County our property bordered a Ducks Unlimited project. DU Canada does many projects large and small, and deserves our support as they try to save birds like the Black Duck from being only a memory. I’ve been a member for decades, and it’s nice to see their efforts paying the dividend off – in the form of more Black Ducks in our marshes!