Bird #103 — Common Goldeneye

bucephala (ox-headed) clangula (noise)

Saturday, February 23, 1980 — 8:45 am

Barrington, Illinois — Crabtree Nature Center

In the winter, in the old days, two small areas of Crabtree Lake were kept open by air pumps.  These small circles of water would be packed with Canada Geese and Mallards, with lesser numbers of  other birds usually included.

I sat in the blind for a while and watched the action.  Five Common Goldeneyes were swimming with the other birds, occasionally diving under the surface for ten seconds or so.

Later in the day, I returned to the blind.  Two more males had joined the group.  All three males were performing courtship rituals.  They would hunker down low on the water then throw their heads back with their bills pointed straight up.  One male was chasing another, swimming with its head under water and just its back above the surface.  Occasionally one would take off, run across the water, fly a short distance and land, skiing across the surface.

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