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Bird of the Week: Mallard

The quintessential duck, the Mallard, is spread far and wide across the northern hemisphere with populations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Its name is even a word that used to be for any wild drake. This duck is so loved by people that it has been introduced in South America, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Wherever you go, if you find a pond, park, lake or wetland area with ducks, you will usually see a Mallard in the fray. The classic quack of a duck comes from the Mallard, though it is only the female who makes this noise; males make a quieter, rasping sound.

Now is the time of year for Mallards to be migrating south for the winter, though here in Michigan we are smack dab in the middle of their range, so we have some from the south who summer here and some from the north who winter here. Feral populations, living off hand outs and scavenging from people, often found in city parks, may stay in the same place year-round, but wild mallards will always migrate come fall.

Keep your eyes out for groups of them in the sky, going north or south, and watch out! They can get up to 55 mph when flying with their flock!

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