Identifying the sex of Blue Winged Teal in early teal season
One question we are often posed with is “Why do we kill only hens during teal season?” I always scratch my head in bewilderment. I then remember most folks haven’t had the training that I have had on identifying ducks based solely on their wings. I want to take a minute to explain it in redneck terms the best I can.
Ducks in September don't look like they do come December. Often times it is difficult to tell the drakes from the hens in hand much less in flight but here are some tricks I use. Drake blue winged teal will have a much more colorful wing than the hens. They actually really stand out in flight if the sun is up. The feathers on top which I refer to as primaries will be a much more brilliant blue than that of the hen. Also, the greater coverts will have solid white on the wings of the drakes while they will appear to be a mottled white on the hens. Finally, the speculum on a drake will be an iridescent green while the hen will show little to no iridescence.
Teal season is now drawing to an end here in LA. I must say this is one of the poorest years I have ever experienced in North LA. But you know we had been on a pretty good streak of great years so it all has to average out at some point. There are two days left so I am going to get back to scouting this evening to try and finish on a high note. Stay after em and God Bless!.
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