Redhead Duck (Aythya americana)


Beginning in the 1970’s, the redhead duck population began to drastically decline. Agriculture and urban expansion began to affect the clarity of water and led to pollution and contamination of the birds’ habitat. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes also became a threat to this species by increasing sediments and decreasing salinity, thus affecting runoff. Each of these impacted the vegetation of the Chesapeake Bay area and forced the ducks to find a different food source.

 Preservation programs have been created in an attempt to reverse the degradation and protect the wildlife. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protect breeding and migrating waterfowl. It is one of the largest freshwater marshes in the United States and a major breeding population of Redheads resides there.

(Baldassarre and Bolden, 1994)