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The duck is back!
Colusa County’s most famous feathered visitor is back – and bird watchers are already flocking into the Colusa refuge to get another glimpse.
The falcated duck was spotted by refuge Manager Mike Peters about 10 a.m. Sunday, and again this morning near the viewing platform.
“I started to let some people know and we probably had about 25 people out here at one time,” Peters said.
The return of the Asian bird is not a complete surprise to Peters, who thought the bird might find its way back given some history with others in its species.
Falcated ducks that had unexpectedly showed up in Oregon and other locations have frequently returned.
“So I thought we had a good chance that he would come back,” Peters said.
Still, it is rare for the bird to be in this part of the world.
The male duck was first spotted on Dec. 8 last year and quickly gained national and even international attention, with visitors flying in from all over the country and even from abroad to get a look at the bird.
The rare duck is in the teal family and is named for the male’s long, falcated – or sickle-shaped – tertials, the wing feathers near his body that overhang onto the tail.
Peters said with the storm activity in the area, including one that is expected to come in as early as Tuesday, it is unknown whether the bird will stay in the area or not.
The last storm has temporarily closed the auto tour circuit at the refuge, but the viewing visitors can gain access to the viewing platform on foot.
The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge is located on the south side of Highway 20 west of Colusa.
As many as 300,000 ducks and 100,000 geese have been known to make the refuge home for at least part of the winter.
Typically, the refuge hosts about 25,000 visitors annually, but that number certainly was much higher last year because of this duck, and Peters expected the visitor count to be up even without the duck because of the exposure it received last year.
A variety of improvements have been made to the facility in anticipation of the increased number of people.