DSC_1110Male Northern Shoveler   Friday, January 4, 2012

The Northern Shoveler is a dabbler that feeds on the surface, as does the Mallard, as opposed to divers, such as the Mergansers, that dive under the water for food.

The Shoveler rides low in the water and uses its spatula-like bill (aka Durante-like schnoz) dipped in shallow ponds to strain out its food.


I’d wondered why I’d never seen one out back before and then read that it breeds in the northwestern states up to Alaska in the summer and winters over in the southwest, south and southeast borders of our country down through Mexico.

It’s rarely seen in our area in summers unless it happens to be migrating through, and none of my sources list it at all in our area in the winter.

Well, take that, ornithologists!

Photos © Carole Clement


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