“They came back. This winter.” Biologist Donald Webster’s voice has a wistful note, wondering if the king of ducks, as the beautiful, crimson-headed canvasback is known, will return to rule Chesapeake Bay in future seasons.
Bundled in parka, gloves, and hat, Webster, waterfowl coordinator for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, raises his binoculars near a seawall at the confluence of the Chesapeake and the Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland. The overlook is a mecca for wintering canvasbacks and other ducks. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most productive water bodies in the world, attracting myriad waterfowl species.