Barrow’s Goldeneye

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Aix
Species: sponsa

La. anser goose
La. forma form, shape, kind
Gr. anous foolish
La. anas duck
La. –idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. aix water bird
La. sponsa bride

Painting of barrow's goldeneye with two common goldeneyes in the background in water.

About twenty inches long. Dark purple iridescent head and throat. Black back. White breast and underside. White wing coverts and additional irregular spots. White crescent moon-shaped spot on each side of the head between the bill and the eyes.

USGS map shows Barrow's goldeneyes breed in the far north - Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Some mountains further south.

Barrow’s Goldeneyes raise their broods in the far north – Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland, the furthest south being in the mountains of Wyoming and Oregon, in the east as far south as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They winter as far south as California, New Mexico, the Great Lakes region and Massachusetts.

They dive for fish, frogs, shell fish and tender plant roots and seeds. They also eat insects.

They tolerate cold weather well being driven south only by frozen water. They migrate in small flocks sometimes with other duck species. Their wings produce a rhythmic whistling in flight; otherwise they are silent birds.

Barrow’s goldeneyes build nests of fine twigs and moss lined with down in decaying tree or stump hollows, or in rock crevices near water.

Females lay six to ten pale bluish eggs which hatch after about a month of incubation. Ducklings are led to water at a very young age and fly at about two months age.

The Barrow’s Goldeneye Owl Nest Box (same as for Kestrel and Screech Owls) has an 8″ by 8″ floor, 15″ inside floor to ceiling, 3″ diameter entrance hole located 12″ above the floor and ventilation openings in the floor and under the ceiling.

Assemble with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes.

For duck boxes, secure the roof and make a Side Opening Door for easy access.

Duck box guidance has traditionally recommended various locations and heights because ducks were observed nesting in those locations and at those heights seeking to escape predators (some as high as 100 feet). Still there exists great duckling mortality in both natural cavities and boxes.

Now, significant reductions in duckling mortality from predation and increased safety for the people installing and managing duck boxes has been achieved by attaching the boxes to metal poles with the entrance openings at 6' above the ground, metal cone guards below the boxes and use of Side Opening Doors. With these results there is also less incentive to install duck boxes above water (and ice).

Visit the Wood Duck Society. Follow their tested and proven best practices.

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Barrow’s Goldeneye

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Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Aix
Species: sponsa

La. anser goose
La. forma form, shape, kind
Gr. anous foolish
La. anas duck
La. –idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. aix water bird
La. sponsa bride

Painting of barrow's goldeneye with two common goldeneyes in the background in water.
Painting of barrow's goldeneye with two common goldeneyes in the background in water.

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Aix
Species: sponsa

La. anser goose
La. forma form, shape, kind
Gr. anous foolish
La. anas duck
La. –idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. aix water bird
La. sponsa bride

About twenty inches long. Dark purple iridescent head and throat. Black back. White breast and underside. White wing coverts and additional irregular spots. White crescent moon-shaped spot on each side of the head between the bill and the eyes.

About twenty inches long. Dark purple iridescent head and throat. Black back. White breast and underside. White wing coverts and additional irregular spots. White crescent moon-shaped spot on each side of the head between the bill and the eyes.

USGS map shows Barrow's goldeneyes breed in the far north - Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Some mountains further south.

Barrow’s Goldeneyes raise their broods in the far north – Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland, the furthest south being in the mountains of Wyoming and Oregon, in the east as far south as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They winter as far south as California, New Mexico, the Great Lakes region and Massachusetts.

Barrow’s Goldeneyes raise their broods in the far north – Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland, the furthest south being in the mountains of Wyoming and Oregon, in the east as far south as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They winter as far south as California, New Mexico, the Great Lakes region and Massachusetts.

They dive for fish, frogs, shell fish and tender plant roots and seeds. They also eat insects.

They tolerate cold weather well being driven south only by frozen water. They migrate in small flocks sometimes with other duck species. Their wings produce a rhythmic whistling in flight; otherwise they are silent birds.

They dive for fish, frogs, shell fish and tender plant roots and seeds. They also eat insects.

They tolerate cold weather well being driven south only by frozen water. They migrate in small flocks sometimes with other duck species. Their wings produce a rhythmic whistling in flight; otherwise they are silent birds.

Barrow’s goldeneyes build nests of fine twigs and moss lined with down in decaying tree or stump hollows, or in rock crevices near water.

Females lay six to ten pale bluish eggs which hatch after about a month of incubation. Ducklings are led to water at a very young age and fly at about two months age.

The Barrow’s Goldeneye Owl Nest Box (same as for Kestrel and Screech Owls) has an 8″ by 8″ floor, 15″ inside floor to ceiling, 3″ diameter entrance hole located 12″ above the floor and ventilation openings in the floor and under the ceiling.

Assemble the Barrow’s Goldeneye Box with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes. For duck boxes, secure the roof and make a Side Opening Door for easy access.

Duck box guidance has traditionally recommended various locations and heights because ducks were observed nesting in those locations and at those heights seeking to escape predators (some as high as 100 feet). Still there exists great duckling mortality in both natural cavities and boxes.

Now, significant reductions in duckling mortality from predation and increased safety for the people installing and managing duck boxes has been achieved by attaching the boxes to metal poles with the entrance openings at 6' above the ground, metal cone guards below the boxes and use of Side Opening Doors. With these results there is also less incentive to install duck boxes above water (and ice).

Visit the Wood Duck Society. Follow their tested and proven best practices.

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