The first Goldeneye I’ve seen this season hung out with a scattering of Greater Scaup off the north side of the park. This one flew more than 2,000 miles to get here from its breeding territory in the boreal forests of northern Canada. They make their nests in tree cavities that may be 40 or more feet off the ground. The chicks don’t spend a lot of time there. Shortly after they hatch, their mother stands at the base of the tree and calls to them. They don’t have flight feathers yet. One after another they step out of the nest and plunge to the ground as Mom watches. Apparently most survive, as their bones are still soft and the ground may be padded with fallen leaves. What this experience does to their trust in their mothers I don’t know. Possibly there should be some studies of PTSD in these ducks, as they are known to be highly aggressive and not great parents; mothers may abandon their offspring, or fight with other mothers, while the chicks scatter in fright and often join another brood. If they survive, they can feed themselves immediately, but it’ll be about two months before they can fly. They’re expert divers and take various proteins as well as aquatic plants.