Monday, March 26, 2012

Duck Calling

Duck Calling doesn't really have  long and storied history here. In fact, few call makers exist in North Carolina today. Few old calls have ever been discovered in North Carolina, either. Still, makers do exist, and some, inevitably, are better than others. Allen Bliven, to me, is the best maker of calls in the world. And I've blown them all. Generally, I can pick his calls up and sound halfway ducky right of the bat. There are others who make neat looking calls in exotic woods, but they are simply collector's items or pieces of demi-art.

But this article isn't about Duck Calling. It's about what I call ducks. Rarely do we refer to the Northern Pintail as's either a pintail, or a sprig tail, or what-have-you. I'll list some common species that my hunting party pursues, followed by other colloquial names. Generally, we used shortened names of the birds and often refer to them singly, no matter how many we are "calling"...

Mallards: We don't see 'em very much, but generally we call them "malluts" while others might call them greenheads.

Gadwalls: We see these fairly often. Most call them gray ducks, but we call them "jagwads". I thinkk we picked it up while watching an old Duck Commander video...shame on me for partaking in those videos.

Scaup: Commonly, people call them "Bluebills". We do the same, as well as "blackheads", which is common on the east coast. Sometimes, though, we slip and call them "bloobs"...

Redheads: We call them by their name everytime.

Black Ducks: Black ducks are a mystery to us. We refer to them singly as "the black duck". I've slipped and called them "Black Mallards" a time or two, too. If we see a flock of Black Ducks, we would say "There is a flock of the Black Duck." Or - "The Black Duck appeared in droves today."

Scoters: We call them "Scotes". Surf Scoters are called "Skunkheads" or "Horseheads" locally, and we also do the same. A limit of drakes is referred to as a "Blackout" by me and my pals.

Snow Geese: We usually call them "Snows", but lately have referred to them as "snogs." My friends on the Mississippi Flyway call them "Sky Carp", and we have extended that name to "Sky Carpet" in reference to the way they can cover the sky. We also call them "Indian Geese" from time to time.

Canvasbacks: It's "Cans" for everyone...

Wigeon: Some also call these "Gray Ducks", but we call them, even if it's more than one, "The Widge". An example: "Get yourself right, a flock of the widge is about to decoy."

Teal: We call them "greenwingers" usually. On good days, we'll call them "greenwangers." Bluewings don't fall for my decoys ever, so they are called a "rarity."

Shovelers: We call these guys "spoonheads", "spoonbills", "bootlips", "lawyer ducks", "neighbor malluts", and "scooperbills." The poor shoveler is one underrated duck in terms of beauty...

Buffleheads are called "buffalo heads".

Ruddy Ducks are called by their name always. Some people call them "boobies", though.

Grebes, though not hunted, are called "di-dipper", "di-dapper", or "grubs."

Sea gulls are called "Illegal Seagals". Bigger gulls are mistakenly called "skua-gulls", too.

Eagles are generally referred to in expletive terms.

All shorebirds are called either "Baby Pintails", "gun-raisers", or "yellowlegs" collectively. Larger birds, like whimbrels and willets are called by their names. Rails and such are generally called "marsh hens."

Coots are called "cuts" or "water chickens."

Cormorants are called a variety of things, but "Water Turkey" is preferred.

Brant are always referred to as "Brantseses." Yes, I put an extra syllable or two in there. An example "I've never killed a single brantseses, but I'd love to do such a thing."

Swans are often called "Swown"..."own" with and "sw" sound on the front...

Wood ducks are usually called by their name by us. Sometimes, when I'm feeling nerdy, I'll call them "Aix Sponsa" - their latin name - or I'll get country and call them "Aix Sponzer". Others call them "woodies."

I apologize for wasting your time reading this entry! Still, it makes the times in the blind fun and unique when you have your very own language!


  1. Have you ever heard of mouth calling...people with real talent to call waterfowl? Know before you state something you do not seem to know much about.

    1. Thanks for your comment, even though I don't understand it. Yep...people in North Carolina do mouth call for geese and ducks. In fact Currituck was home to one of the greatest ever. SHE even won the worlds I believe.