Bird watchers are flocking to Fontenelle Forest to see an American black duck that was spotted Monday among a small group of mallards.
It’s the first known sighting of the duck on any of Fontenelle Forest’s properties.
Rick Schmid, Fontenelle Forest’s director of operations, saw the bird in Child’s Hollow.
“As birders, we’re always out looking for something that is rare or uncommon in our area,” Schmid said. “This bird is not common in our area.”
American black ducks look similar to hen mallards but have a darker bill, darker body plumage and a brown (not white) tail.
They were once the most common duck species in the eastern United States, but mallards have been crowding them out and interbreeding with them.
The bird in Child’s Hollow appears to be quite pure and, based on the bill color, is believed to be a female.
A description and photograph have been submitted to Fontenelle Forest’s Nature Search, a website featuring all living things documented and photographed on properties owned by Fontenelle Forest.
Documentation will also be submitted to the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union’s Records Committee to obtain official acceptance of the sighting.
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.