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Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

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Bufflehead Return

This month, the Bufflehead returns from the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska to winter in our waters. Its nicknames include little black-and-white duck, bumblebee duck, buffalo-headed duck, butterball, and spirit duck. Buffleheads have elaborate courtship displays that they perform throughout... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Buffleheads in Winter

Buffleheads have returned for the winter, down from the boreal forests of the north where they breed. These birds are monogamous and often return to the same wintering area. Buffleheads breed on small lakes and ponds in the boreal forest. In winter, the Bufflehead is most often found in coastal... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection

Bufflehead, Never Still

The male Bufflehead performs his extravagant courtship display often. He swims toward the female, bobbing his head up and down at a speed that makes you fear for his neck. He takes off and flies over her with head held low. Then he lifts his head, raises his bushy crest, and skis back on to the... read more »

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Hunters' Names for Ducks

Hunters have nicknames for waterfowl that capture the distinctive sound and sight of these birds, such as "Spoonbill" for this Northern Shoveler. And why is the Northern Pintail called a "Sprig"? WNPR listener David, in Belchertown, MA, tells us that the answer can be found in Gurdon Trumbull's... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  language

Flickers and Buffleheads

After a Northern Flicker carves out a nest cavity, chances are the birds will use the cavity for just one nesting season. But the cavity may have a prolonged career as a home for small owls, bluebirds, swallows, and other birds - including the Bufflehead. Buffleheads - like the family seen here -... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting
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