Ring-necked Duck -- Huntsville, Alabama: With the arrival of autumn comes the arrival of ducks. Species like the redhead, canvasback, bufflehead and ring-necked arrive on their southern wintering grounds around mid October and early November. Many head for wildlife refuges where grain planted in the spring has gone to seed and is left standing in the field for the fall arrivals. On occasion some ducks find their way to the urban ponds of city parks, industry and universities.
This ring-necked took up residents on a pond at the University of Alabama, Huntsville one fall, and stayed for a few of months before moving on. Along with a few others it became part of a mixed flock of domestic ducks, muscovy, and redheads. I drive by UAH everyday on my way to Oakwood University where I teach photography, so I keep an eye out for the fall arrivals. When I see wild duck on the ponds I arrange time to shoot.
One of the favorite past times for some it seems is to go to the duck ponds and feed the ducks. As the domestic ducks eagerly take handouts of bread the wild ducks soon follow suite and quickly become accustom to the handouts and people. This conditioning provides wonderful opportunities to photograph wild ducks at close range.