Recently I came across a bird I’d never seen – the common goldeneye. They are members of the family of water birds (ducks, geese, etc.) and have apparently come to Colorado for the winter. Personally I would’ve kept flying south, but I suppose it’s downright balmy here compared to Canada.
I like ducks of all varieties, but this one caught my eye because of its striking black and white markings. It also provided a measure of amusement as it dove down and disappeared in the creek. Where would it reappear? There? There? No, there! Endless entertainment. It even dove under sheets of ice, then popped back up on the other side (they can apparently dive for up to a minute).
A little more investigation also revealed that, during breeding season further north, the females will lay their eggs in other ducks’ nests when sites are scarce (and it can be any duck nest – doesn’t have to be another goldeneye nest). As it turns out other ducks do this, so it seems as though a goldeneye might end up raising a very diverse group (this diverse brood is called a crèche)! The eggs are then incubated by some feathered mom for about 30 days. After hatching the common goldeneye young are ready to leave the nest in only 1-2 days! Gets even better…goldeneyes nest in the boreal forests of Canada in tree cavities up to 40 feet high. That means the chicks must jump to the ground where their mother (either biological or foster) waits and calls. Then they are led to the water.