SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – We’ve all heard the saying “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.” But is it a wood duck or a mallard? Shoveler or merganser? Canvasback or pintail? Waterfowl identification isn’t as simple as this adage implies.
People wanting to learn how to identify the variety of waterfowl species that either migrate here in winter or are year-round residents should plan to attend the Springfield Conservation Nature Center’s “Waterfowl ID” program from 1-3 p.m. on Nov. 8. This free program will feature an indoor program and an outdoor hike where can view waterfowl and test their identification skills. People can bring their own binoculars or use ones furnished by Nature Center staff.
Waterfowl identification is often associated with duck hunting and, while it is a necessary skill for hunters to have, it’s also a valuable tool for nature viewers in general. Learning how to identify duck and other waterfowl species (geese, swans) can develop a deeper appreciation for the multitude of these birds that visit Missouri waters each winter. Improving waterfowl identification skills can also help hone other bird and wildlife identification abilities.
The Nov. 8 program is open to ages 10-adult. People can register by going to mdc.mo.gov/SouthwestEvents. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located in southeast Springfield at 4601 S. Nature Center Way. Information about Nature Center events can be obtained by calling 417-888-4237 or by going to mdc.mo.gov/springfield.