Monday, January 25, 2010
Here on the Cape our warmer waters, especially warmer ocean waters, attract a lot of ducks from farther north that need open water to feed in every winter. Many of our ponds, lakes and bays are home to flocks of these charming and spunky little ducks each winter and are among many people's favorites. Buffleheads are the smallest diving duck in North America and nest in freshwater areas and neighboring forests in Canada.One fun fact about these little birds is that they nest almost exclusively in holes made by flickers. They have also been known to use the holes made by pileated woodpeckers but prefer those made by flickers. They will also nest in nest boxes, not unlike our own little wood ducks.Mostly monogamous, buffleheads travel in mixed flocks. The male wears the sporty black and white while the female is a duller gray and black. There is one female in the photo above. These diving ducks seem to pop up and down in the water. While underwater they are seeking mollusks and crustaceans. In fresh water they also eat underwater insects.