Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Harlequin Duck on Oswego River in Oswego NY

This beautiful Harlequin duck had been in the Oswego River for a couple of weeks. An ocean dweller and not at all native to this area, especially in the winter, the Harlequin attracted the attention of many birdwatchers who visited the river behind the Post Office in Oswego.

Birdwatchers were there on Sunday when it quietly succumbed, probably to starvation. It's been a very hard winter for many species of ducks, especially those who dive for food. This colder-than-usual winter has seen ice covering much more of the shallow areas of the lakes and rivers suitable for diving success.

The Harlequin was recovered and taken to Rice Creek Field Station, also in Oswego, where it will be autopsied, and then preserved, mounted and displayed. Oneida Birds, a Yahoo group, opens doors to many sightings of migrants and rare birds in this region. It's easy to join and full of interesting info.

All About Birds, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's web site, has better pictures of Harlequin ducks. The website is tops for identifying all birds and learning more about them. Highly recommended!

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