Sunday, May 22, 2011

Long Tailed-Duck

I'd never seen a Long Tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) until this Friday when I saw a unfamiliar bird swimming in Lake Michigan near the South Haven pier. It eventually swam right up to the edge of the pier, then dove. Later, I found they can dive 200 feet deep.

Long-tailed ducks are an ocean species, spending much of their lives far offshore. They spend summer in the arctic and nest on the tundra. They winter on the Atlantic & Pacific coasts, the Great Lakes, and in European waters. Because they are difficult to observe, scientists don't know much about these birds compared to other ducks. The Sea Duck Joint Venture provides more detailed Long-tailed duck information pdf.

Hunters frequently refer to these as "Oldsquaws."

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