Found in all flyways; most numerous in the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways and fewest in the Central. They are early migrants; most of them have left the northern states by mid-November.
Frequents wooded streams and ponds; perches in trees. Flies through thick timber with speed and ease and often feeds on acorns, berries, and grapes on the forest floors. Flight is swift and direct; flocks are usually small. In the air, their wings make a rustling, swishing sound. Drakes call hoo-w-ett, often in flight; hens have a cr-r-ek when frightened.