Monday, April 7, 2014

Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage

Ruddy Duck
Ruddy Duck, breeding plumage drake. March 9, 2014. San Marcos, California. Greg Gillson.
A few weeks ago I photographed a Ruddy Duck in non-breeding plumage at Lindo Lake, reproduced below. I recently found this drake above all decked out in breeding finery.

Ruddy Duck
Ruddy Duck, non-breeding plumage drake. February 9, 2014. Lindo Lake, California. Greg Gillson.
If you look carefully at the breeding bird you can see yellow plastic garbage wrapped around the back of the head and through the mouth. Plastic is one of the major threats to health to birds. Besides plastic wrap and rings, small pellets, bottle caps, and other plastics spilled in, or washed to, the ocean are mistaken for food and fed to nestling albatrosses and other seabirds. As they don't pass through the digestive system, they accumulate in the stomach, and birds starve even though they have a full belly--of plastic. If you haven't seen the photos of the dead albatross chicks, you owe it to yourself to click and view the problem of plastics in the ocean 2,000 miles from any mainland!

Ruddy Duck with plastic garbage