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More Records of the Wood Duck in Arizona

Charles T. Vorhies
Publication Information
6 (November-December)
From Field and Study

More Records of the Wood Duck in Arizona.-For several years past the writer has conMently expected that the Wood Duck, Aix sponsa, would be authentically added to the avifauna of Arizona. During tbose years repeated oral reports have reached me, indicating occasional occurrences of the species. Those reports, however, while in the aggregate convincing to the writer, were often indirect or second-hand and could not be made the basis of a scientific record. In some instances they were quite sub-rosa, the birds having reportedly been taken by mistake during a hunting season in which they were on the protected list. After all, this species has not been known in Arizona, although it occurs east and west of us, and a considerable degree of unfamiliarity was to be expected.

The most direct and convincing report reaching me was made by Mr. A. A. Nichol, a very competent observer. He reported a few years ago having seen at close range a male Wood Duck at or on the then new Parker Reservoir. Personally I never doubted this record, but the occurrence was in tbe boundary waters between California and Arizona, and was not reported. By recent letter, Mr. Nicbol has informed me that “It was on October 26, 1940, that I saw a.male Wood Duck sitting in a dead mesquite tree along the east shores of Parker Lake, just about fifteen miles south of Topock.”

Now, in addition to two previously reported sight records-from Tucson by Anderson and Anderson (Condor, 49, 1947:89), and from Phoenix by Pulicb (Condor, 49, 1947: 131)-we have records from middle eastern Arizona: Game Ranger Al Wilson of Springerville, Apache County, on January 12, 1947. “positively identified a pair on the Little Colorado River about a mile below Lyman Dam” ‘(letter to writer,- January 24, 1947).

Somewhat later, Director Reid, of the State Game Department, wrote me that Ranger Wilson had secured a pair of Wood Ducks which would be presented to the University “if we were interested.” These specimens came into our possession bearing the date of January 6, 1947, taken on the Little Colorado River below Lyman Dam. Seeking to get the entire record straight, we next learned by letter from Mr. Wilson that be had first identified a pair of Wood Ducks in that location on January 5, 1947, in the open season. Patrolling tbe area again on January 6, be found the pair (or (I pair), freshly killed, in possession of two Spanish-American youths (small boys). Making a deal with the boys, be secured the birds and bad them mounted in Alpine, Arizona. These came into our collection as stated, in March, 1947. The pair identified on January 12 was therefore the second pair for that locality within a week.

Both are fine specimens, in full spring plumage. They are nos. 1527 and 1528 in tbe bird collection of the Department of Entomology and, Economic Zoology .--CHARLES T. VORHIES, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, October 16,1947.  

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