Elms Environmental Education Center

Welcome to Planet Earth

February 2018: Barrows Goldeneye

 


Barrows Goldeneye
[Scientific name]

Who am I?

I am a small diving duck that usually lives on the west coast of North America -- migrating from southern Alaska and the Yukon Territory to northern California for the summers. There is a small group of us that hang out in the Northeast corner of Canada. For the past couple of years I, a lone female, have been spending my winters on the East Coast of the US, at the Elms Environmental Education Center. I have raised quite a stir, attracting all kinds of humans who, thankfully, just want to take a look at me. I look a lot like the Common Goldeneye, which lives in the east, except my beak is all orange where the Common Goldeneye just has a bit of color on the tip of its beak. I am not too fussy about where I lay my eggs or even keeping track of my babies. I will build a nest in a cavity somewhere, usually a tree, or lay eggs in another bird's nest. I can lay a lot of eggs -- up to twenty-eight of them. My babies will leave the nest within a couple of days of hatching.

Where can you find me?

 Normally, my kind can be found in Southern Alaska in the winters and Washington State in the summer. Or just pop down to the Elms to check me out. (I will not be around if the bay is frozen or during high winds.)

What do I eat?

 I eat mostly things like crabs and shrimp and fish eggs, though sometimes fish and a few veggies just to stay regular.

What might eat me?

 Eagles. Eagles. Eagles. And bears, raccoons, martens, owls, hawks, weasels, and sometimes large fish.

Cool reasons why I am the critter of the month!

  •  I was named after Sir John Barrow, who led an expedition to discover the fabled Northwest Passage. Point Barrow -- the northern most point in the USA, Barrow Strait, and Barrow sound are all named after him.
  • rarely seen on the east coast of the US.

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