The one thing about a shoveler you simply cannot overlook is its bill. Disproportionately long, flattened, wider at the tip than at the base, this bird’s enormous schnoz is its signature. It’s not that the Cajuns don’t notice all this. They just have a habit of looking one step beyond the obvious. To a Cajun, a shoveler is a “smilin’ mallard.”
Because of the shoveler’s highly evolved bill it can glean food more efficiently. Animal matter such as microscopic organisms, freshwater snails, aquatic insects, to tiny fishes makes up a third of their diet. No other dabbler eats that much, and that’s why every other dabbler makes better table fare. Even though they are a beautiful duck, let’s face it, as hunters when it’s down to eating shoveler’s times are hard.
*Text sources provided by Michael McIntosh, Wild Fowl of North America, published by Brown & Bigelow Inc. St. Paul Minnesota.
Species Identification compiled by George Austin McCurry