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Bird of the Week: Canvasback

Have you ever seen a large duck with a triangular head diving in a body of water? If that duck had a white body, black chest, rear and beak and a chestnut-colored head, you spotted this week’s Bird of the Week, the Canvasback – specifically the male during breeding season! This time of year, the male’s feathers are more muted in color, though their bright red eyes help identify them year-round. Females are pale brown with dark eyes and sport the same characteristic triangle head shape as the males. These ducks are highly social and can form huge rafts of thousands of waterfowl in winter! Often seen diving to the bottom of lakes and ponds to eat plant tubers and invertebrates, the Canvasback hangs out in large flocks across the country and throughout southeast Michigan. They are most often seen on the water and prefer to lay eggs in protected marshes by building a floating nest attached to aquatic plant stalks. If you hope to catch a glimpse of this wonderful waterfowl, grab a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope and head out to one of your 13 Metroparks. Happy birding!

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