Date: 5/14/19 6:05 pm
From: Rudolph Keller <rckeller...>
Subject: Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Berks
These colorful, gawky ducks with their theatrically pink bills and feet are
worth looking for, if you haven't already done so. Park in the lot at the
bottom of the hill near the soccer fields, walk up to the first of the
houses in the gated community, turn left and walk down to the near edge of
the quarry. The quarry itself belongs to Spring Twp., so you won't be
trespassing on private property. The boundaries of the homeowners are
obvious. The grass is high and has been wet, but should dry in the next day
or so. Look for a window through the dense foliage at the edge of the lake.
The ducks are usually at or near the edge of the water just around the bend
of the lake. If you've birded the place in winter, realize that most of the
lake is hidden behind leaves now.

These birds quickly keyed in to a reliable food source. One of the
homeowners (the one owning the house with the black metal fence around the
yard) feeds the local urban Mallards year round. The Mallards are entirely
habituated to humans and not skittish. Perhaps taking a cue from the
Mallards, the BBWD are not very skittish either, and join the Mallards at
the corn. A neighbor photographed some of them perched on the metal fence,
waiting to be fed. Interestingly, the last BBWD to visit Berks at Mohnton
several years ago also joined Mallards to eat corn provided by a local
homeowner. Those, like these, were not banded and appeared and later left on
their own, as will these on their own schedule.

The Mallard feeding has turned into something of a ritual, especially in
winter, when hundreds of Mallards are present. The ducks gather on the shore
below the house (the ground is bare after years of this) or even in the yard
of the house beyond the fence. They're tough, demanding birds and quack
impatiently until corn comes flying over the fence and the front ranks rush
forward to gobble up as much as they can. Then one of the owner's little
dogs races down the hill from the house to the fence barking excitedly,
causing the ducks to explode into the air and fly through the trees into the
lake. The dog retreats to the house and the second rank of Mallards rushes
up the hill to get their share of corn while the flushed birds gather on the
shore behind them. This dog moderated game of leap-frog continues until the
corn is gone and is a LOL entertaining spectacle if you happen to be there
at the right time. Checklist below.




> E.J. Breneman Quarry, Berks, Pennsylvania, US
> May 14, 2019 9:36 AM - 10:46 AM
> Protocol: Traveling
> 0.1 mile(s)
> Comments: Overcast, chilly, 51F
> 37 species
>
> Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 12 Gathered along water's edge below
> house where corn is fed to Mallards. Many photos by other birders.
> Canada Goose 8
> Mallard 33
> Mourning Dove 2
> Chimney Swift 4
> Spotted Sandpiper 1
> Double-crested Cormorant 7
> Great Blue Heron 1
> Turkey Vulture 1
> Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
> Great Crested Flycatcher 1
> Eastern Kingbird 1
> Warbling Vireo 2
> Red-eyed Vireo 1
> American Crow 1
> Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
> Tree Swallow 2
> Barn Swallow 2
> Tufted Titmouse 1
> House Wren 1
> Carolina Wren 1
> Eastern Bluebird 1
> Wood Thrush 1
> American Robin 6
> Gray Catbird 4
> European Starling 2
> House Finch 10
> American Goldfinch 4
> Chipping Sparrow 1
> Song Sparrow 3
> Baltimore Oriole 5
> Red-winged Blackbird 1
> Brown-headed Cowbird 4
> Common Grackle 2
> Scarlet Tanager 1
> Northern Cardinal 4
> Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
>
> View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56286407
>
> This report was generated automatically by eBird v3
> (https://ebird.org/home)
Rudy Keller
Boyertown, PA
Berks County
 
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