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Sun., Jan. 8, 2012, 7:58 a.m.

Asian duck drawing crowds in California

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- A duck normally only seen in Asia has somehow turned up in California, drawing excited bird watchers from all over the U.S. and Canada to a wildlife refuge in the state’s Central Valley, the Associated Press reports.

Wildlife officials say a male falcated duck, a bird common in China, was first spotted at the refuge on Dec. 8.

Since then, thousands of birders have observed it paddling among mallards, pintails and geese, said Lora Haller, who works at the Colusa Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center.

Most falcated ducks breed and live in China, and smaller populations live in Japan, North Korea and South Korea. The ducks can also sometimes be found in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, Haller said.

The celebrity bird has a silvery plumage with iridescent green and bronze on its head. “Falcated” or “curved and tapering to a point” refers to the male duck’s long wing feathers near the body that overhang onto the tail.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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