Barrow’s Goldeneye Duck
The Barrow’s Goldeneye Ducks breeding habitat is wooded lakes and ponds primarily in northwestern North America but also in scattered locations in eastern Canada and Iceland. Females return to the same breeding sites year after year and also tend to use the same nesting sites. the males stay with their mate through the winter and defend their territory during the breeding season, then leave for molting site. Mating pairs often staying intact even though the make and female are apart for long periods of time over the summer during molting times. The pair then reunites at wintering areas.
The Barrow’s goldeneye duck is considered an arboreal bird species due to the fact that much of its nesting is done in cavities found in mature trees. The birds will also nest in burrows or protected sites on the ground.
Male – The male Eider has a large grey-green wedge-shaped beak, black and white plumage, and a pale green nape. The legs and feet are olive-green.
Female – The female has a brown barred plumage but still has the large characteristic beak which is olive-grey.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage has a a dark brown plumage with white markings on the back and wings.
Size: – Typical Adult is 20-28 inches.
Food: – Mainly mussels which are swallowed whole, as well as other animal matter such as molluscs, and crustaceans.
Habitat: – Coastal areas in north America, north Europe, Arctic, Greenland, and eastern Siberia.
Breeding Season: – Early April further south but June in the north.
Eggs: – 4 to 6 (olive-grey color).
Notes: – The Common Eider is a large sea duck which is found in the Northern Hemisphere. The female Eider plucks the feathers from her breast to line her nest. It used to be commonplace for Eider feathers (Eiderdown) to be harvested for filling pillows and quilts.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.