Consistent with the times, we’ve got a lot of swell-headed males around here. Fortunately, ours are Bufflehead Ducks that are arriving from Canada for their winter vacations. Their name is shorthand for “buffalo-headed,” a reference to what many call the American Bison.
The darker females also have disproportionately large heads, but their heads are not as disproportionate as those of the males and are all black except for a white cheek spot.
These tiny (14-inch) birds are unique among sea ducks: they not only nest in tree holes created by large woodpeckers (Northern Flickers and Pileated Woodpeckers), they’re monogamous for years at a time. (Brooklin, Maine)