By Chester A. Reed
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Querquedula discors), which measure about one inch longer than the preceding species, are quite commonly termed "Summer Teal," as they migrate earlier in fall and later in spring than the green-winged variety. They are found in North America, chiefly east of the Rocky Mountains, breeding in the Northern States and southern Canada and wintering from Maryland and Illinois south as far as Brazil and Chile.
Among sportsmen, this species has the reputation of being one of the swiftest ducks in flight, the most wild and impossible claims of speed being mentioned, even up to two hundred miles per hour. Careful observations by competent men have amply proven that this or no other duck can fly at a rate of more than sixty miles per hour.
In autumn they feed upon wild rice, as well as other tender plants and insects, becoming quite fat and very toothsome, although of small size. They are never very shy and come readily to decoys, settling among them with the greatest confidence. They walk very gracefully and easily, and swim swiftly and with much buoyancy, usually keeping close together, the same as Green-wings do.
Their nests are on the ground, in patches or tussocks of grass in meadows, or along the borders of streams, ponds or swamps. They are made of grass and weeds, thickly lined with feathers and down; six to twelve greenish-buff eggs constitute the full setting.
CINNAMON TEAL (Querquedula cyanoptera) are abundant on the Pacific coast, not uncommon in states west of the Mississippi and of casual occurrence in eastern states. They are found even more abundantly and more widely distributed in South America. Like the other teal, they prefer fresh-water marshes and ponds and are seldom found on open salt water. Like all very active ducks, they run about meadows and catch a great many grasshoppers. This diet, together with the grain and tender plants they devour, makes their flesh very palatable.