BC new short film turns the spotlight on the “fancy ducks” of the West Coast

British Columbia is home to some majestic beasts – cougar, grizzly bears, killer whales – but some avid birds based on Vancouver Island say one of the province’s most attractive but underrated creatures is the duck.

Connel Bradwell and Ryan Wilkes from Victoria, BC, have teamed up to create the new short film Fancy Ducks featuring four different breeds of ducks that can be found in the countryside that the duo has considered, well, fancy.

Their criterion for fancy does not follow a scientific formula, but rather a superficial one: if the duck makes you take a double shot because it is extremely impressive, then, according to the duo, it makes the cut.

“Fancy ducks are ducks that have a little extra flavor,” Wilkes told the CBC. North to Northwest.

Harlequin ducks play on the rocks in Oak Bay, BC. Ducks make a unique sound similar to a mouse squeak and can dive up to 20 feet below the surface of the ocean. (Fancy Ducks)

Wilkes is a wildlife director by profession and Bradwell is a fan of wildlife conservation. The film follows them both to a handful of locations in Greater Victoria as they begin to find the most fancy ducks they can.

Bradwell and Wilkes met at a wildlife film conference in 2021. The purpose of their film, they told the CBC, is to show their audience how easy it is to spot beautiful birds in British Columbia.

In Oak Bay, spectators meet the harlequin duck – a small sea duck so named because of its colorful markings. They have a white crescent in front of their eyes and a white patch near their ear. Their feathers are mostly dark blue with reddish brown patches on the side. They have a dark brown belly. Their heads are crowned with black stripes and chestnut stripes on both sides.

“They look like they’re going to some kind of event with a black tie, especially the males, it looks like they’re wearing a little tuxedo,” Wilkes says in the film.

CLOCKS Checkout Fancy Ducks and see for yourself the urban birds:

The couple’s excitement is radiated through the film as they rejoice in their discoveries.

They also show the public the pintail duck, which they find swimming in the sea in Saanich. This breed also gets the fancy seal of approval for its appearance. The female tail is brown with intricate designs and the males have a blue beak and long, striking pointed tails.

Next is the scooter scooter, which is almost entirely velvety black with a colorful beak in white, red and yellow, with a black spot near the base. The scooter surfing account is likely to make a few heads.

“A fancy duck makes you look double,” says Bradwell.

Pintail ducks can be found all over Canada. (Tim Morill)

The last duck of the day is the wooden duck, which the couple finds in a Saanich forest where the breed likes to nest in trees. They have sharp claws that help them cling and climb so they can reach their penthouses, also known as old woodpecker holes.

Wood ducks are not savory in appearance. Females have a thin white pattern around their eye and males are green and brown with patterns on almost every wing.

“Definitely the most fancy duck we have in BC,” says an excited Bradwell in the film.

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