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Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities

Types of Fowl

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Other Name: "Honker"
Size: Length 25 - 45 inches, weight 3.5 - 10 lbs.
Call: Loud "h-ronk" while in flight
Migration Pattern: Highly migratory; year round from Maine to Eastern Shore of Virginia, in winter south to northern Florida, in summer northern U.S. and all of Canada
Food Source: Prefer grain and feed in corn fields after harvest
Interesting Fact: Native Americans and early colonists viewed the return of these geese as a harbinger of spring and the end of the winter famine period.
Canvas Back


Other Name: Can, table duck, king of ducks
Call: Low croak and growl
Habitat: Fresh marshes, lakes, salt bays, and estuaries
Migration Pattern: Winter from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Florida; summer from northern states through western Canada
Interesting Fact: Cans are large and tasty, feeding on aquatic grasses all winter and summer.
American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Other Name: Black mallard
Call: Male, low croak; female, quack
Habitat: Ponds, marshes (prefers salt marshes)
Migration Pattern: Winter inland from Virginia to northern South Carolina; summer eastern half of Canada to Hudson Bay; year round Maine to S.C. coast
Interesting Fact: Male and female black ducks have almost identical plumage.


Other Name: Diver
Call: Seemingly maniacal, quavering laughter
Habitat: Wooded lakes and coastal waters
Migration Pattern: Winter along coast of U.S. and Canada; summer throughout Canada
Interesting Fact: Called "Harkers Island turkeys" and often served stewed in earlier times, they are now endangered and cannot be hunted in North Carolina.
Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan

Other Name: Whistling swan
Call: Melancholy, clear, singing "kloo" or "kwoo"
Habitat: Nest on tundra ponds in Canada; winter in marshes and shallow ponds, and graze in open fields of harvested grain
Migration Pattern: Winter along Chesapeake Bay and the coast; summer in farthest coastal areas of Canada
Interesting Fact: This is the smallest of American swans, but is very majestic in flight.


Other Name: Jack curlew
Call: Five to seven even-pitched, short, rapid "quiquiqui..."
Habitat: Marshes, beaches, and rocky shores
Migration Pattern: Winter from Virginia coast south through Gulf of Mexico; summer in far reaches of Canada
Interesting Fact: One of the largest shorebirds of the Atlantic coast, its decoys are noted for being dramatic, large, and distinctively marked.