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Bird Watching: BLUE and green headed Mallard Ducks!

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SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2011
4:18 PM

Post #8370383

Hello folks,

Yes, I'm serious...
I thought there was something wrong with the camera or my eyesight was going bad. I have taken many pics of Mallard Ducks, during various angles of when the sun is shining, so it's not the irridessence of the feathers either. I was relieved to see a few online sites confirm that there are some Blue Headed Mallards out there!

DH took me for a ride and as we were passing on of the local parks, we saw a flock of about 20 of them near the roadside...VERY Cool!

1st, here are 2 links. Ths one is a link to a forum discussing the subject...
http://tinyurl.com/4l8prdm

And here's a link to a pic with both green and blue headed Mallards in the same shot!
http://tinyurl.com/69993qq

And here is a pic and I also cropped it...

Thumbnail by SusanLouise
Click the image for an enlarged view.

SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2011
4:19 PM

Post #8370385

Here's the cropped version...

Thumbnail by SusanLouise
Click the image for an enlarged view.

SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2011
5:44 PM

Post #8370516

LOLOLOL...
Lots of people viewing but no comments...
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

February 13, 2011
6:07 PM

Post #8370554

Well it looks neat. :-)
SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2011
9:27 PM

Post #8370752

Pelle,

Hmmmm...what does that mean? Assuming you are a non believer of blue headed Mallards? :)

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
4:47 AM

Post #8370997

It is all to do with the structure of the feathers, with the colour of the refracted light depending on the exact structure of the feather. Some info:
http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2009/04/08/structural_colour_in_bird_feathers

[quote="SusanLouise"]LOLOLOL...
Lots of people viewing but no comments...[/quote]

I suspect part of it is that a lot of people distrust tinyurl links - you can't identify the real name of the website you are being taken to, so it might turn out to be an unsafe site. Always best to post the original direct link.

Resin
SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 14, 2011
1:32 PM

Post #8372038

Hello Resin,

Thanks for your link :)
Based upon that info, then I still say, in layman's terms, that there must be a miniscule difference/mutation in the feather's reflectivity to light of the blue headed Mallards vs the green headed Mallards.

I have seen many green headed Mallards in my 51 years, and never saw blue headed ones ever til yesterday...and neither did my husband. We have seen Mallards in all different sunlight varients and on cloudy days, swimming around and waddling from all angles.

These 2 links I attached in my initial post (I'm now posting the original link addys) also gives me comfort in #'s...knowing that I am not the only individual seeing what my husband and I are seeing...
Please read entire thread in this forum entirely...it's not too long...especially the last post...
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=675963

Here's a couple links to pics...
http://www.williamsburgbirdclub.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=257

http://www.welovebirds.org/photo/blueheadmallard1-1?commentId=4112402%3AComment%3A135292&xg_source=activity

I will go to my grave believing that there is a difference in the feathers of certain Mallards which instead of them being irridecent to green, they turn blue/purple. I wish I was a scientist and could catch one of each of these Mallards and do a study on the feather structure of each.

I'm just grateful that there are a few others besides my husband and I who believe in blue headed Mallard Ducks! :)



This message was edited Feb 14, 2011 3:33 PM

This message was edited Feb 14, 2011 3:34 PM
linthicum
Linthicum Heights, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 14, 2011
4:33 PM

Post #8372385

Ironically, I just took this photo of a Mallard Drake on 1/31/11. I just assumed it was caused by the direction of the sunlight against his iridescent head feathers.

Thumbnail by linthicum
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
4:59 PM

Post #8372425

The angle of the light does matter - I've seen them change from green to blue and vice-versa as they move around changing the angle they are at to the sunlight

Resin
Grasmussen
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4a)

February 21, 2011
5:51 PM

Post #8385314

This afternoon at Northwood Park, there were about 300 Mallards in a small area of open water, and on the surrounding ice. It was a bright sunny day. From my vantage point the ducks on the left had blue heads. The duck on the right were at a different angle to the sun, and had green heads. Near the center there was a transition zone as the ducks moved through the colors changed. I find it hard to believe anyone could think it was anything other than iridescence! At time the color can also appear Black.

A Blue headed Mallard from the left side of the pond.

Thumbnail by Grasmussen
Click the image for an enlarged view.

SusanLouise
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

February 21, 2011
9:00 PM

Post #8385630

Grasmussen,

What can I say?
How long have you been a birder? Myself...this is my 3rd year. I am familiar with irridesence of feathers. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have a gorget that goes from black to red for example, depending on the light. I am aware of it...along with many other birds.

However, all my life I have always seen Mallards with just green heads...all of my life...51 years of it. So when I saw blue heads for the 1st time, I had to go to my field guides to look for a blue headed duck!

Laugh if you must, I don't mind. Even my husband who was with me couldn't believe it either. When we got home put the pics I took onto the pute. There were green and blue headed Mallards...that is what I believed...period. I then checked online and saw others pics...and their believing that there are blue headed Mallards. So, then my husband and I thought, well, I guess we aren't the only crazy ones.

So, a couple of days ago as I was going throught the pics on the GBBC site, there was a Mallard with a blue and green head. Well, what do ya know. That pic is what convinced me...nobody could have convinced me by telling me or my husband. Why? Because of pics I saw of Mallards with their heads facing the same direction...one blue and one green.

Here's the pic that finally convinced my husband and myself that there are no such things as blue headed Mallards...
http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/gallery/2010-winners-and-finalists/MALLAR_Dawn_Woodland_BC10_25701.jpg/view

To those of you who tried and help me in this thread...don't take it personally. I also believe in ghosts and UFO's from other galaxies too :D



This message was edited Feb 22, 2011 10:24 AM
Reddog_750
Novi, MI

April 30, 2012
8:48 AM

Post #9103825

I saw these blue headed Mallards in Orchard Lake Nature Preserve, Orchard Lake Michigan on 3/29/2012

Thumbnail by Reddog_750
Click the image for an enlarged view.

katrun
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7a)

April 18, 2014
6:41 PM

Post #9815977

I am so glad that I am not the only one! My friend and I were at a park and we saw 2 ducks swimming together. One was a mallard with the Green head ,next to it was similar to the green but his head was a BRIGHT TEAL color! His markings were a bit different so we knew , or thought it was a mallard. We thought maybe he accidentally arrived here because we have never seen a Teal colored head!
We were in awe! We watched them swim for quite some time and I (We) can tell you that it was NOT the light. We thought that at first ,because we assumed they stay in pairs with their own kind.
We told the lady at the nature center ther. She tried to look it up and she could not find any ducks with a bright Teal head Native to our area.
When we returned home ,
I was curious and started searching the net and was astonished that there was no information or pictures of this particular duck. I was saying to myself there has to be ducks with teal heads!

I can tell you there was a big difference between the two and it was obvious as we watched them swim in the marsh side by side with the light and them turning in positions. We can confirm that it was a bright teal color.

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 21, 2014
1:06 PM

Post #9818026

I had purple- headed mallards last week. I walked to where the light was at a slightly different angle, and the heads were green. I wasn't surprised, but I thought it was worth double-checking the color. I don't have any explanation for two birds where one is always the right color and the other is always the wrong color. Unless they were domestic Mallards? They can be weird crosses and colors

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