This is one of two female Goldeneye Ducks with her little brood that we managed to photograph on Caddy Lake, Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba, Canada
Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 150-500mm lens

June 14/12

June 10/12

June 6/12

June 6/12

June 6/12
June 5/12

General Description
Often found in large rafts outside the breeding season, Common Goldeneyes are frequent winter residents in Puget Sound and on large Washington rivers. The male Common Goldeneye has a dark iridescent-green head that looks black when not in the sun. He also has a prominent round or oval white spot on each side of his face at the base of his black bill. His belly and flanks are white, and his rump is black. His back is mostly white with black bars. The female Common Goldeneye has a gray body, brown head, and yellow eyes. This bird can be very difficult to distinguish from a female Barrow’s Goldeneye. The bill of the Common Goldeneye is mostly black with a yellow tip, while that of the Barrow’s is mostly yellow. Juveniles are gray with brownish heads, similar to females but with less differentiation between the head and body colors. Consult a field guide or an experienced observer, consider range and habitat, and study nearby males for clues about which female and juvenile goldeneyes might be present.

Common Goldeneyes breed worldwide in northern boreal forests. They prefer clear water in small lakes and ponds that are not overwhelmed with submergent and emergent vegetation and which do not support populations of fish. Goldeneyes are cavity-nesting ducks and generally require forested habitat with mature trees (deciduous or coniferous) that offer suitable nesting cavities. During migration, goldeneyes stop on large lakes and rivers to feed while they move between breeding and wintering habitats. They winter primarily in marine areas, in shallow protected bays, estuaries, and large lakes with a sandy, gravel, or rocky substrate. They are occasionally found on sewage lagoons, and non-breeding birds sometimes summer in these areas.
Common Goldeneyes are diving ducks and forage mostly under water. Often a whole group of goldeneyes will dive at the same time. Goldeneyes are aggressive and territorial, and the male performs spectacular and complex courtship displays. The female commonly lays eggs in the nests of other Common Goldeneyes and other ducks, especially other cavity-nesting ducks.
On the breeding grounds, aquatic insects make up the bulk of the diet, and in fact, goldeneyes prefer ponds that lack insect-eating fish which compete for prey. On wintering grounds, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish are the main foods.
Female Common Goldeneyes do not usually start breeding until the age of two years, but yearlings may prospect for future nest sites. Females typically return to the areas where they hatched (philopatry), and once they breed, often return to the same nesting site year after year. Pairs form in late winter or early spring. Nests are located in cavities in large trees, 5 to 60 feet above the ground. Cavities are often old Pileated Woodpecker holes, natural cavities made from torn branches, or artificial nest boxes. The nest itself is a depression in existing material (wood chips, leaves, or material from a previous nest) lined with down. The female typically lays 7 to 10 eggs and incubates them for 28 to 32 days. After one or two weeks of incubation, the pair bond dissolves, and the male begins his molt migration. It is not known whether these pair bonds re-form in the fall, but other sea ducks, including Barrow’s Goldeneyes, do re-pair, so it is quite possible that Common Goldeneyes do as well. The young leave the nest one to two days after hatching, and the female leads them to areas with abundant food where they feed themselves. Broods will sometimes join other broods in a large crèche. This most often occurs if the female has abandoned a brood early, or if broods are mixed up during territorial disputes between females. Females abandon the young before they can fly, usually at 5 to 6 weeks of age, but occasionally earlier. The young fledge at 8 to 9 weeks of age.
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common goldeneye, duck, wild bird, water bird, brown, grey, black, caddy lake, whiteshell provincial park, manitoba, canada

Self taught photographer enjoying retirement in travel and meeting fellow members of Redbubble.

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  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsover 2 years ago

  • Stephen Thomas
    Stephen Thomasover 2 years ago

    WOW! Wonderful photo!

  • thanks very much Stephen

    – Vickie Emms

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    BEAUTIFUL work…neat find vickie, and well documented

  • thank you so much Larry

    – Vickie Emms

  • jules572
    jules572over 2 years ago

    Beautiful image Vickie, well focused, the only problems is when I went to view large your name covered the little ones…Jules… Favour

  • thank you Jules and for saying something about the watermark. That’s RB’s big thing, I changed it to the corner instead, so if you have a moment take another peak at the little guys. they are too cute.

    – Vickie Emms

  • Leslie van de Ligt
    Leslie van de ...over 2 years ago

    This is just terrific Sis and a Fave :>)) Leslie

  • thanks for both sis, appreciated

    – Vickie Emms

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 2 years ago

    What a sweet capture . . . really beautiful viewed larger!!

  • thank you very much Lori

    – Vickie Emms

  • shortshooter-Al
    shortshooter-Alover 2 years ago

    A beautiful shot of this family Vickie.

  • many thanks Al

    – Vickie Emms

  • Donna Keevers Driver
    Donna Keevers ...over 2 years ago

    Aww, how adorable! Lovely capture!

  • thanks so much Donna

    – Vickie Emms

  • labaker
    labakerover 2 years ago

    great shot Vickie :)

  • thank you very much Larry

    – Vickie Emms

  • dgscotland
    dgscotlandover 2 years ago

    A cute and pretty capture Vickie. Great info too.

    Click the banner to take you to the group. Your work is welcome here and please enjoy it.

  • many thanks DG

    – Vickie Emms

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