Going wild

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Here is a red and green bird for Christmas: a male Muscovy duck. Out on errands yesterday, we saw a flock in a retention pond next to Home Depot on Route 1 in Stuart.

These ducks are completely new to me. A passerby informed us they were Muscovies. Apparently South Florida has many of them.

Feral Muscovy ducks can breed near urban and suburban lakes and on farms, nesting in tree cavities or on the ground, under shrubs in yards, on apartment balconies, or under roof overhangs. Some feral populations, such as that in Florida, have a reputation of becoming nuisance pests on occasion.

And…

In the US, Muscovy ducks are considered an invasive species. An owner may raise them for food production only (not for hunting). Similarly, if the ducks have no owner, 50CFR Part 21 allows the removal or destruction of the Muscovy ducks, their eggs and nests anywhere in the United States outside of Hidalgo, Starr, and Zapata counties in Texas where they are considered indigenous. The population in southern Florida is considered, with a population in the several thousands, to be established enough to be considered “countable” for bird watchers.

So these ducks exist somewhere “in between.”

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Female Muscovy ducks are smaller.

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology Muscovy Duck Fun Facts:

One of the oldest domesticated fowl species in the world, the Muscovy Duck was already being kept by native people in Peru and Paraguay when the early Spanish explorers arrived. The word “Muscovy” may refer to the Muscovy Company (incorporated in London in 1555), which transported these ducks to England and France.

Aztec rulers wore cloaks made from the feathers of the Muscovy Duck, which was considered the totem animal of the Wind God, Ehecatl.

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