Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
There are few things I enjoy more than hunting blue-winged teal as they migrate through Iowa each September. Although they can easily withstand a chill, they usually choose not to; and there is no denying that the speedy BWT is partial to warm climates. The first to move south each fall, blue-wings are also the last to arrive each spring.
Pioneers of the waterfowl world, blue-wings just keep on flying until they locate the best wetland habitats for spring nesting. While female mallards or wood ducks exhibit a strong loyalty to return to the place of their birth, blue-winged teal do not. A hen that nests in Northern Iowa one year may end up laying her eggs in Manitoba the next. The only thing you can count on for sure is that long before the first frosts whiten early autumn grasslands, this year’s crop of blue-winged teal will already be well on their way to Central or South America. Attached are photos of blue-wings currently passing through our state. I think they are one of the most subtly beautiful of all waterfowl. Hopefully more than a few will choose to stay and nest.