A Landing Northern Pintail at Sequoyah NWR

I was recently on a photography excursion at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. As I was parked along the auto tour road, I had my camera ready to capture the variety of birds feeding in a flooded field nearby. Throughout the morning, I was treated to sightings of Greater Yellowlegs, Northern Shovelers and even a few Wilson’s Snipes .

As the morning went on, I noticed a group of ducks landing in the water. From a distance, I could tell a few were Northern Shovelers. But there was one duck that caught my eye as he was coming in for a landing that I just could not identify. His slender black bill and gray, elongated body were unlike the other puddle ducks I was used to seeing. I quickly grabbed my camera and was fortunately able to capture a couple photographs of this mystery duck as he gracefully descended onto the water.

Drake Northern Pintail
Drake Northern Pintail

When I returned home, I sent the images to my friend and fellow wildlife photographer Mia McPherson to get her expert opinion. She wrote back informing me that I had photographed a handsome Northern Pintail drake! Apparently, the elegant tapered silhouette and delicate long feathers give the species its name. Getting to see this striking bird visiting from its breeding grounds up north made waking up before sunrise completely worth it!

Northern Pintail Drake Landing In a Flooded Field
Northern Pintail Drake Landing In a Flooded Field

I feel so fortunate to have encountered and captured images of such a beautiful duck on his migratory travels. Part of me hopes he enjoyed his stay at the refuge so much that he returns next year. I know I definitely plan to as well, eager to see what other feathered surprises await!


Northern Pintail Ducks do visit Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The refuge is a resting point along the Central Flyway for thousands of mallard, wigeon, wood duck, pintail, and various other species. The refuge is known for hosting diverse wildlife, including the largest flocks of snow geese in Oklahoma, and it provides habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds. The Northern Pintail is a North American game bird, and Oklahoma allows a daily limit of pintails to be harvested, indicating their presence in the area.

Image Information:

  • Date: 11/12/23
  • Time: 10:43 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • ISO: 3200
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Shutter: 1/1000
  • Exp. Comp.: -0.3
  • Lens (mm): 500
  • Program Mode: Manual