Mallards Tag

Mallards are hard to beat for grace and beauty. The drake’s dark-blue head shines iridescent green in the light, hence the nickname “greenhead.” Photo by Steven T. Callan

Greenheads and Muddy Sneakers

Mallards are hard to beat for grace and beauty. The drake’s dark-blue head shines iridescent green in the light, hence the nickname “greenhead.” Photo by Steven T. Callan

Mallards are hard to beat for grace and beauty. The drake’s dark-blue head shines iridescent green in the light, hence the nickname “greenhead.” All photos by author

“Dad, can I go with you?” I pleaded. “There’s no school tomorrow.” I enjoyed riding on patrol, weekends and sometimes after school—whenever I didn’t have baseball or basketball practice. Soon after moving to Northern California, I’d been given a copy of Francis Kortright’s classic, The Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America, and had become fascinated with waterfowl—so much so that at age fourteen I could identify just about every duck and goose in the Pacific Flyway.

—From The Game Warden’s Son

Waterfowl at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

For the Love of Ducks

Waterfowl at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Waterfowl taking flight at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Photo by author.

With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the grain field on the west side of the highway.