Many birders have favourite birds, those which they especially enjoy watching and hearing. While I enjoy all birds, I especially like ducks and ones I look forward to seeing every winter are the Goldeneyes.
There are Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes which we visit in a few locations. Fast moving water keeps the Grand River from freezing in some places and these little ducks found these areas and return every year.
Like so many birds, the males are showier than the females of these species. The Barrow’s male has a white raindrop shape on its face, whereas the Common has a white oval. The feather markings on their backs are different as well.
Common Goldeneye, male, in the foreground. Barrow’s male behind it.
The females of both species look alike but the Barrow’s has a shorter orange-yellow beak.
This last photo is one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken. It was accidental, an aim and shoot, one of hundreds taken one day along the Grand River in Prince Edward Island.
It has five female Goldeneyes, and a male Barrow’s Goldeneye. Of the five, I believe all but one are Barrow’s. One of those looks as if she is quacking vehemently at the male. I wonder what she’s saying?