Deep Preen

Common Goldeneye female (Bucephala clangula)

What caught my eye here was the energy. This bird was working hard. It used its beak to clean and smooth feathers all over its body, including the remote tail fan. Then it used its duck feet to scratch its head, neck, and chin. It spent a solid nine minutes doing this deep preening (just a few excerpts here). And then, after beating its wings a bit, it tucked its head on its back and took a nap. Exhausted!

One odd thing is that this female Common Goldeneye sat on the water several hundred yards away from a male of the species:

Common Goldeneye male (Bucephala clangula)

The male did a bit of preening as well. The two appeared to have no interest in one another. But maybe this preening was just a prelude to familiarity. The books say that Goldeneye begin to form pair bonds in December. So it’s high time, wouldn’t you think? And it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of competition. If there were others of this species on the water, I did not see them.

Common Goldeneye female (Bucephala clangula)

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