Many of you are planning to venture out for early September teal season in states that have one. Those of you who are new to hunting or bird watching will wear out your eyes looking at flocks of Green-winged , Blue-winged, or Cinnamon Teal for the beautiful drakes portrayed in the guide books. In the late summer and early fall, adult teal are still in eclipse plumage and the young-of-the-year are still in juvenile plumage. Drakes, hens, and juveniles all look virtually the same!

These conditions change later in the fall and winter as the birds mature. However, Blue-winged Teal leave the northern and middle latitudes for their wintering areas well before they assume ‘adult’ plumage characteristics. Male Cinnamon Teal likewise retain their eclipse plumage until January. Fortunately for northern bird watchers and hunters, some male Green-winged Teal will be colored nicely later in the fall, as they stick around long enough to reach adult plumage before heading south.

It seems difficult to many of us to differentiate among all the species of waterfowl. With differences between the sexes, juvenile plumage, and eclipse plumage of adult birds, it becomes even more of a challenge. Have fun during September teal season!

– “Professor Duck”

Dave Odell
Dave OdellProfessor Duck
Dave Odell (a.k.a Professor Duck) holds a Bachelors Degree in Zoology from Houghton College and a Masters Degree in Zoology (emphasis: wildlife management) from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.