group of ducks floating on the water

Migrating Ducks are on the Move

In Birds, Uncategorized by couchiching

Most of us have a penchant for songbirds, however, so many have left for southern climes.  At this time of year, ducks loom to the forefront as they begin their migration to open waters of the south.

It can really be an exciting time of the year, especially if you live by a lake as we do, for you never know from one day to the next, what species of bird will appear on the lake.

The last couple of days have been very interesting now that the colder days are upon us and ice is beginning to form on the shorelines.  Thousands of ducks ply the waters swimming back and forth almost in unison; when one turns to swim another way, they fall in step.  Large flocks of Common Goldeneyes appeared one at daybreak, a few minutes later, they were joined by Buffleheads, then later Common and Hooded mergansers joined the growing flock.  Then came Scaups, Ringnecks and Mallards. Occasionally a dispute occurs, with one duck chasing after another. On the fringe of this ever-growing raft of birds are the Gulls, watching and waiting to infiltrate the flock and steal a fish from one of the unfortunate ducks.  Out of nowhere a quintet of Trumpeter swans did a fly-pass! [wc_row][wc_column size=”one-half” position=”first”]

Watching all of this activity from a nearby tree was a pair of Bald eagles.

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Watching all of this activity from a nearby tree was a pair of Bald eagles. When fishing does not pay off for them, they will sweep down and pluck one of the ducks from the water and return to the tree branch for lunch!  Every year now we have eagles hanging around the lake, this time of year in particular.  How wonderful to see them in all their majesty!


The Herons have gone, as have the Ospreys.  This year’s young Loons are still content to stay, growing stronger every day.  One day soon however, they will lift off the water, many of them for the first time, to begin their migration as well.  We pray that a sudden freezing snap does not engulf the lake with ice before they get that urge to leave.  More than one loon has been chopped out of the ice and taken to open water in some other lake!

A solitary Belted kingfisher is still cruising the shoreline.  He will stay until ice takes away his livelihood!

There are still some songbirds to entertain us at our feeders: Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Doves, Goldfinches and Song sparrows.  Of course the Blue jays prefer to have the feeders to themselves, chasing all but the Doves way.  Doves seem to be such peace-loving birds, but they won’t back off if a Blue jay comes to the table as the other birds do.  This list will grow as we can expect to add Red polls, Siskins, Purple finches and if we are lucky this year, some Evening Grosbeaks to the festivities.

Spending a half hour or so sitting quietly and watching the lake on a crisp sunny day is not only physically relaxing, it is also mind and soul refreshing to take part in this wonderful creation we call nature!

David A. Homer is a volunteer and on the Board of Directors at The Couchiching Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to protecting nature for future generations. To learn more about how you can help conservation efforts in the region, please visit our website:

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