With waterfowl season starting to wind down in some parts of the country and winter’s cold grip taking hold, many of us are likely considering hanging it up for the year.
However, a site like this would make even the most worn out waterfowler trip over his own waders to get back out onto the water and after all these Canvasbacks.
Canvasbacks are arguably one of the most beautiful species of waterfowl in North America. A drake canvasback’s chesnut-red head, black breast, and tell-tale silver back make it stand out even against the ever popular mallard.
According to Ducks Unlimited, canvasbacks breed in the Prairie-pothole region of North America, sub-artic river deltas of Canada and in some parts of Alaska, preferring protected marsh areas where females lay an average of 10 eggs each.
During the winter months, canvasbacks migrate through the Mississippi Flyway to wintering grounds in the mid-Atlantic United States and the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV), or the Pacific Flyway to wintering grounds along the coast of California. Currently, DU reports that the canvasback population is continuing to rebound from low levels experienced in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The canvasback was once one of the most abundant species found in the Chesapeake Bay, but according to the Chesapeake Bay Program, the birds have seen declining numbers due to a loss of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) and habitat depletion in recent years. Research and active habitat management have aided to help the canvasback make a comeback in the area in recent years however.