assateague wrote:I hunt to kill. It's why I take a gun instead of a camera. And it's a goose- lighten up.
The Waterfowler wrote:With hybrids, there are keys to look for and sometimes the hybridization is like mixing paint as you have to know what to expect when the gene pool is mixed.
The first bird pictured is a Mallard/Gadwall hybrid, a.k.a. Brewer's Ducks named after Dr. Thomas Brewer by John James Audubon who at first thought it was a new species. Brewer's Ducks have a common trait of black upper mandible striped with yellow down the sides much like the blue on a Pintail bill. Although the body color patterns, especially the heads, may vary some from specimen to specimen, the bill is a dead give away. This coupled with the white in the speculum from the Gadwall on the secondaires is always present. If there was Pintail present like the DEC director spoke of there would be blue in the bill if crossed with a Mallard and the neck ring would at least show white from the Mallard/Pintail gene combination. I've had my hands on dozens of these hybrids and it's second nature once you see enough of them. I've even identified some of them on the wing before I shot them. It's just knowing what to look for.
Here's a Brewer's Duck that was banded and released and still flying around as far as I know.
Here's a Mallard/Pintail for comparison that was banded and released. Sadly the guy that killed it 5 years later wrung it's neck when it was a cripple. What a waste of a nice specimen. This hybrid crossed truer than any with little variance from my observations.
The dead mount is a Mallard/Wigeon hybrid and is quite obvious if you take time to look for keys to the cross breed. The white upper wing covers are the most obvious as to a Wigeon and the elongated center erectrices are Wigeon also which the Mallard curl adds to the length. It's just the nature of this hybrid. The head color varies on most of these hybrids that I have seen, handled and mounted as to intensity of green but the brown skull cap is most always present like in this one. The tertial feathers are pure wigeon and the metallic green of the speculum is spot on. The white trailing edge of the speculum comes from the Mallard. For some reason on genetic recombination the bill ends up looking like a Wigeon on all the hybrids of this type, although I have seen tinges of yellow at the nasal base on some I've handled. The Mallard breast feathers as well as the Mallard foot coloration is prominent in this cross also. This is a nice mature hybrid that is in at least it's second year. Here's another nice Mallard/Wigeon hybrid. Notice the keys to the parents I've spoke of.
And, as a side note, both of these hybrids aren't sterile and can reproduce. Also of interest let's say the hybrid breeds back to a pure Mallard to produce an F2 generation which will show some hybrid characteristics, but not as pronounced. If this generation breeds back to a pure Mallards the F3's will phenotypically look almost like pure Mallards but still carry the Wigeon gene. Same with going the other way breeding back to pure Wigeons.
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