There are finer, more carefully focused and composed photos from a chance encounter with a group of Ruddies the other day… but this is my favorite because the details give away so much about this little duck… the bluish bill, the outstretched neck and jaunty tilt of the tail.
They’re usually easy to find in the neighborhood ponds and almost always bring a smile.
My go-to book for historical bird names has a very long list for the Ruddy Duck; many of which are hysterical…
Dumpling Duck, Daub Duck, Deaf Duck, Fool Duck, Sleepy Duck, Butter Duck, Brown Diving Teal, Widgeon Coot, Creek Coot, Sleepy Coot, Booby Coot, Ruddy Diver, Dun Diver, Sleepy Brother, Butter-Ball, Batter-Scoot, Blatherskite, Bumblebee Coot, Quill-tailed Coot, Heavy-tailed Coot, Stiff-tail, Pin-tail, Bristle-tail, Sprig-tail, Stick-tail, Spine-tail, Dip-tail, Diver, Dun-bird, Dumb-bird, Mud-dipper, Spoon-billed, Butter-ball, Spoonbill, Broad-billed dipper, Dipper, Dapper, Dopper, Broad-bill, Blue-bill, Sleepy-head, Tough-head, Hickory-head, Steel-head, Hard-headed Broad-bill, Bull-neck, Leather-back, Paddy-whack, Stub-and-twist, Light-wood-knot, Shot-pouch, Water-partridge, Dinky, Dickey, Paddy, Noddy, Booby, Rook, Roody, Gray Teal, Salt-water Teal, Stiff-tailed Widgeon.
Edward Howe Forbush (1917) explains that many of the common names stem from the difficulty in hunting them…
(Stub-and-twist is a personal favorite!)