Shannon Emmel is a birder, and one of her favorites is the green-winged teal. When she got to know that one was a resident at the Loch Raven Reservoir, the birder took the opportunity to see him up close. However, when she arrived at the reservoir, the small green winged teal had a girlfriend, who was a mallard three times his size, all the while doing his best at keeping away other large ducks away from his beloved.
In an interview, the birder had this to say: “I found the green-winged teal, who was easy to spot among the mallards because he is so much smaller. I found him literally following this one particular mallard all around on the dirt and grass. He followed her everywhere and periodically chased off other mallard males.”
Although the green-winged teal is one of the smallest ducks in North America, this little one has come to understand that its’ size isn’t everything. Green teals are naturally fast and agile ducks, all the while courting their mates with vocal displays and elaborate dances. However, this is not the case with mallard drakes, as they have more laid back methods.
Like other animals, it’s highly common for mallards to hang out with other mallards, and green-winged teals to stick with other green-winged teals. However, birder Emmel noted that these star crossed lovers had a very special connection that surpasses family or breed.
Emmel goes on to say: “It was the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a while. The Green-teal truly appeared 100 percent enamored with this mallard, so everywhere she went, he followed. Eventually, they went into the water and he stayed very close by.” She also goes on to add, saying: “The female mallard seemed perfectly fine with her little suitor. It was such a joy to watch.”
Birder Shannon Emmel is not the only one whose attention was piqued by this unlikely pair. Throughout March, there have been other bird enthusiasts from Maryland who’ve been making the special trip to see the reservoir’s celebrity couple.
Crossbreeding between ducks is extremely rare, although it’s not unheard of. Whatever said and done, with any luck, these committed birds would lay a clutch of eggs, which will make some adorable babies.