Common Goldeneye

Bucephala clangula
Common goldeneyes have a bright gold eye/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

The Common goldeneye is a sea duck, which means it is a stocky, short-necked diving duck that tends to winter along the coast.  It is an umcommon visitor to the refuge between fall and spring. Goldeneyes nests in natural tree cavities or nesting boxes, usually near water.  When flying, the rapidly beating wings of the Goldeneye make a loud whistling sound, hence its name the “Whistler”. According to, “iBird”, “the Common goldeneye is the only duck in North America known to benefit from the acidification of our lakes. This is because it feeds on insects, many of which are acid tolerant.” By feeding in these lakes, where most fish cannot survive, the competition for food is reduced. 

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Facts About Common Goldeneye

Bright yellow eye

White oval or circular patch between the eye and bill

Hunters call it the “Whistler”