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October 31, 2014

Hooded Merganser Naps on Sapsucker Woods Pond

“Hooded” is something of an understatement for this extravagantly crested little duck. Adult males are a sight to behold, with sharp black-and-white patterns set off by chestnut flanks. Females get their own distinctive elegance from their cinnamon crest. Hooded Mergansers are fairly common on small ponds and rivers, where they dive for fish, crayfish, and other food, seizing it in their thin, serrated bills. They nest in tree cavities; the ducklings depart with a bold leap to the forest floor when only one day old. 

October 31, 2014

Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpeckers are contrastingly black and white. The black wings are checkered with white; the head has two white stripes (and, in males, a flash of red toward the back of the head). A large white patch runs down the center of the black back. In contrast the Red-bellied Woodpecker often appears pale overall, even the boldly black-and-white striped back, with flashing red cap and nape. Look for white patches near the wingtips as this bird flies. 

October 31, 2014

Pine Grosbeaks in the Snow

Did you know that the tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak gave rise to local name in Newfoundland of "mope"? 

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