Brace of Baffled Buffleheads

photo of buffleheads

Photo by E.J. Lefavour

Did you know that the Bufflehead, (a small diving duck, mostly white with glossy green-black to purple-black head and back), was first described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. They nest almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers. Unlike many ducks, it is mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years. A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a “brace”, “flush”, “paddling”, “raft”, and “team” of ducks. Buffleheads are one of my favorite shorebirds and I watch for their arrival in late fall. They are little, very cute and have the coolest name. I don’t know if these are actually baffled, although they did look a little confused in the snow trying to find each other.

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