Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
The spring migration of blue-winged teal through Iowa is one of my favorite outdoor events. Teal are rarely at rest during spring migration; courtship flights occur from dawn to dusk as hens lead parties of colorful drakes in dramatic low level, high speed chases that twist and turn across the marsh. Whenever flocks touch down the show continues and water splashes as each crescent-faced suitor vies for attention. Although some blue-wings will nest in Iowa, most pairs will continue on to the prairie grasslands of the Dakotas and southern Canada. Come fall, they will be the very first waterfowl species to head toward southern wintering areas in Central and South America.