Whistling a happy tune? This high quality image is the silhouette of a black-bellied whistling duck. Really. It is. But you probably knew that. Right?Doe. A deer. A female deer? I’m guessing probably not.Doe. A deer. A female deer? Can’t tell. However, I do feel comfortable in suggesting that the critter is not an Australia wood duck.

Whistling duck, duck, duck...deer, too

Please read this...

This week, we’re gonna be whistlin’ ducksie...and doing a little bit of deer hunting...

...sorry about “gonna”...

...and “whistlin’ ducksie”...

...and, no, I did not go deer hunting, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. I’m thinking that would have been vaguely illegal.

A couple of weeks ago, you may recall, I made mention of a mystery bird which yours truly had spotted in our neighborhood.

A fellow traveler on the Journey Through  Life suggested, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, that the mystery bird might have been Australian wood duck.

Well, thanks to some information shared by a retired waterfowl biologist, we may have determined that the mystery bird was a black-bellied whistling duck. 

Such quackers like to perch in high places, like on rooftops, so they can see what’s going on around them. That would explain, I think, why I saw a duck on a rooftop.

Black-bellied whistling ducks usually call places like the coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana, as well as Mexico, home. They also are called cornfield ducks, and, if you happen to be in Mexico, pichichi and pato maizal. 

Seems they also do well in captivity. So, the mystery birds I spotted a couple of times, and have not seen since, likely were fugitives. Guess they had ducked out of some fowl place, kinda flew the coop, so to speak.

Black-bellied whistling ducks obviously would be new to our little corner of the world. We’ve also got hummingbirds. Lots of hummingbirds. This got me to thinking, which is never a good thing.

We could put the whistling ducks and some hummingbirds together someplace, along with four calling birds, three French hens, some pipers piping and drummers drumming, and we would have our own holiday season musical group. 

(The ducks could whistle a happy tune. The hummingbirds would, well, hum, ‘cause they don’t know the words. Ha. Ha. Ha.)

Even better, maybe the pipers and drummers could be members of a “bird band,” like The Eagles, The Byrds, The Yardbirds, Counting Crows, A Flock of Seagulls, The Dixie Chicks (who would have to change their name to the Dixie Ducks) and Them Crooked Vultures (which are a real band. The internet said so).

By the way, yours truly sends a thank you to the retired waterfowl biologist for his help in solving this mystery.

 The other critters I wanted to mention this week can’t fly. Or whistle. As far as I know. They do, however, bleat, snort, wheeze and grunt, which is what I do when I try to whistle.

A couple of Sunday evenings ago, yours truly pretty much tired of hearing the phone ring. My response was to run away. In a manner of speaking.

I actually decided to do some deer hunting. With a camera. Got in the car, and headed for the country. Fortunately, in this little corner of the world we call home, the country is not very far away.

In the somewhat cool of an otherwise sweltering summer evening, in didn’t take to long to spot some white-tails. 

The first two were spotted in a field along Mountain Glen Road. If I remember correctly, which I probably don’t, the field pretty much was filled with stubble and new growth.

The little fleeing from the phone adventure then took me for a bit of a jaunt along Kaolin Road, where four or five more deer were out for an evening stroll.

Finally, I headed west along Brown Section Road, pretty much in the direction of Bald Knob Mountain. A number of deer were spotted having a wonderful time in fields on both sides of the road which were filled with fresh, young, very green soybean plants. I’m guessing these critters had found what amounted to fields of deer salad.

Next time, if all goes as planned, we’ll be doing a bit more hunting. Or not...



The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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