Backyard Birds of the week: Common Goldeneye
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I went to the bosque here in Rio Rancho. We had a wonderful time, filled with laughter and bonding.
One of my favorite moments went like this:
Michaela: “Mom, what’s that white thing floating on the water?”
Me (uncharacteristically cynical): “Probably just trash.”
Me (focusing my zoom lens on the “trash”): “Wait! It’s a bird! I don’t know what kind, maybe a Hooded Merganser?”
I posted my photo, along with the story of me thinking it’s trash, to a Facebook birding group to which I belong. I requested help identifying said bird, and received confirmation that it’s a Common Goldeneye – which turned out to be a lifer (a new sighting in birder lingo) for me.
The Common Goldeneye is, ironically, fairly uncommon in our area during the winter months. These birds forage underwater in lakes, streams, and rivers, to feed on crustaceans, small fish, worms, and leeches. They prefer to live in bays and along coastlines in the winter. They pair up with a mate in the late winter months and they breed in the early summer months across most of Canada. So you can see why this sighting was fairly exciting for me!
With the help of a fellow bird enthusiast, I learned a valuable life lesson in this birding experience. She practically took my breath away with one simple comment on my Facebook post:
“How many things in life we casually dismiss at first glance, only to look again and discover something wondrous.”
I hope that today you might give a second look at something seemingly innocuous, and discover something wondrous.