Ruddy Ducks, one of America’s smallest waterfowl species, are present in southern Arizona year-round.

Water is critical for wildlife, especially in a dry region like southeastern Arizona. Water is relatively rare, often occurring in small springs and puddles with only enough open water so a deer or javelina can wet its nose. But a duck is likely to just fly on over.

When it comes to water for ducks, most of us know where the few lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Cochise County are located. And of course, we have a perennial river where dabbling ducks that feed in shallow water, including Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, and Blue-winged Teal, are often observed. They are usually seen at relatively close range and therefore easy to identify.

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