Bufflehead!

By

Pamela Perry Blaine

 

 

Iím really not calling anyone names.  Itís just that I was washing dishes while

 gazing out the kitchen window and I spied ducks on the pond.  I went and

got my binoculars to take a better look.  There were two of them. 

I couldn't tell a lot with my antiquated binoculars so

 I went outside to get a closer look. 

 

I have always enjoyed watching ducks and have even tried to keep tame

ducks but it seems like they always end up getting eaten by coyotes.

 

As I headed out toward the pond, I tried to be very quiet and move slowly

and at last I was able to get fairly close.  I stood for quite

a long time and observed the pair. The prettiest one was black and white

and kept diving while the other one just swam around as if watching for

danger.  She was obviously the female who had been told, ďHoney, watch this!Ē

as he kept diving under the water showing off his expert diving abilities. 

As I watched, he would dive under and stay under for a long time.  I began

timing him and he would stay under a good 15-20 seconds at a time. 

He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself while the little duck wife was

patiently swimming nearby.  She was being the steadfast sentry,

 yet I wondered if she was thinking about when it might be her turn to dive.

 

The wind was getting cold so I turned to go back to the house.  When I moved,

they saw me and immediately flew away.  They appeared to fly effortlessly off

of the pond with hardly any movement and not requiring a running start. 

They seemed to just lift their wings and off they flew! 

 

I came back into the house and checked in my bird book but couldn't find

anything that looked quite like that strikingly beautiful drake.  Well, I figured

that was the last of the pretty ducks anyway since they had flown away. 

 

However, the very next day, I spied them again and watched for a long time and so

 I decided to do some duck research.  Finally, I found information

about them on the Internet.  They are called bufflehead ducks.

The name  "Bufflehead" is derived from the obsolete word "buffle"

for buffalo. The Latin name, Bucephala albeola, means "white buffalo-head." 

My pretty visitors on the pond fit the description on the computer perfectly.

 It said that they live around both fresh water and salt water.  According to the

information, I discovered that bufflehead ducks usually stay a little further north

than Missouri, and are often found on the seacoasts.  They are diving ducks that

can swim under water and they dive to eat aquatic insects and vegetation. 

 

Iím not sure what the buffleheads were doing here in Northeast Missouri

, but Iím glad they took the scenic route this year and stayed a few days with us

 at the Pond Bed & Breakfast Inn. 

 

 

By Pamela Perry Blaine

© April 2005