It’s Time For Ducks and Robins

Ruddy duck (photo by Lauri Shaffer)

If you like to watch the seasons change take some time to go birding this weekend. Ducks, robins and blackbirds are on the move.

Last Tuesday at Moraine State Park, my friends and I saw 16 species of waterfowl including tundra swans, three kinds of mergansers, a rare red-throated loon, and ruddy ducks like the one pictured above. (Notice his breeding plumage, blue bill.)

Migrating species change as you travel east. Last Tuesday at Yellow Creek State Park — only 70 miles east — there were 855 canvasbacks! We didn’t see any at Moraine.

Meanwhile American robins are arriving in good numbers. They sing at dawn in my neighborhood even though they haven’t reached their destination. Pretty soon they’ll be singing in the dark, too.

American robin in March (photo by Lauri Shaffer)

Watch for red-winged blackbirds, common grackles and killdeer. They’ve just arrived in Pittsburgh.

(photos by Lauri Shaffer,

5 thoughts on “It’s Time For Ducks and Robins

  1. Lots of red-winged blackbirds in the Albany, NY, area the past few days. Ice flowing on the Mohawk River today, with hundreds of gulls and others hovering above, including a juvenile bald-headed eagle. Haven’t seen a duck, robin or grackle yet, but Canada geese dropped in on the melting river yesterday.

    1. And now, 12 bald eagles just standing on the ice in the wind. I saw two go by on a floating piece as if they were surfing.

  2. Been seeing more redwing blackbirds around Frick Park (robins, too but no killdeer): curious about where the RWBs spend the winter?

  3. While I’m at it I might as well mention that now that the ice has started melting, we suddenly have several dozen common mergansers diving for fish. Springtime is here!

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