Up close with Cans

January 17, 2020

It's rare to be up close with wild waterfowl, especially diving ducks of the big, open water.  They're wary, and rightfully so.  It's essential to their survival.  Canvasbacks are a duck of the open water.  To me, they have always been somewhat of a prize just to see them.  So when I'm anywhere near the eastern shore of Maryland, I go looking for Canvasbacks and I am always hoping for the opportunity to photograph them.

Canvasbacks are sometimes called the "king of ducks." Mark Twain, in 1879, wrote a menu of his favorite foods while he was siting in a hotel room in Italy.  Canvasbacks from Chesapeake Bay that had been feeding on wild celery were on the list.  He wasn't alone.  The tastiness of Canvasbacks nearly led to their demise at the hands of market gunners who shot them relentlessly to supply the city markets and restaurants.

Fortunately, there are still places where you can see them in great numbers, like the eastern shore of Maryland. And I feel fortunate to have spent time with these great birds.


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