These two American Wigeons near the Schoolhouse Creek outfall are engaged in a courtship ritual — dipping their bills in the water. Sometimes they manage to do it in unison. At other times an itch demands to be preened; we all know how that can happen during lovemaking. As there are no other birds of this feather in the vicinity, their relationship seems untroubled by possible rivalries, and the two seem fated for each other. And indeed they look like the pair bond has already been welded. They’ll usually stay close together during the winter and during spring migration back up to their breeding grounds, which may lie in the boreal forests or tundra of Alaska or Canada. After she has laid her eggs and they’ve begun to hatch, the male tends to wander off, leaving the parenting to the female. Next year, they’ll likely pair with someone else.
A day after I wrote this I saw a small flock of these birds dabbling together in tight formation, both males and females. Chances are that the pairing situation might be more complex than it seemed when only these two were in the picture. See second picture below.