About The Barrow
Barrow’s Goldeneye is a waterfowl which falls under the diving duck category. Its bill is short and black while its eyes are yellow. It has a crescent shaped white patch on its cheek. Barrow’s Goldeneye has a metallic black-purple head and black back and wings, although the wings have some white patches. In sharp contrast, its chest, sides, and belly are all a bright white. As Barrow’s Goldeneye changes plumage depending on the season, this coloring is observed from fall to early summer. At other times, both male and female fowls have much duller coloring. The immature fowl is similar to the adult female except that its bill is darker.
Barrow’s Goldeneye is, on the average, 13 inches long and has a wingspan of 31 inches. It weighs about 1.7 pounds to 2.3 pounds.
This waterfowl likes to breed in wooded ponds and lakes in North America although it also frequents Canada and Iceland. Barrow’s Goldeneye usually builds nests in cavities in trees. However, it also makes burrows in the ground or rock crevices near the water. It prefers to make use of existing holes such as hollow stumps as well.
This waterfowl’s nest is usually made up of fine twigs and moss. The nest is lined with down. Barrow’s Goldeneye also makes use of existing nests made by other waterfowls. The female Barrow Goldeneye usually lays 6 to eggs which are of a pale blue color. These eggs hatch about one month of incubation.
Barrow’s Goldeneye normally breeds only one brood per year. In special circumstances, it may have more than one brood in a year. This can happen if the first brood is destroyed due to one reason or another.
Building a Birdhouse For The Barrow
A birdhouse for Barrow’s Goldeneye is easy to construct. Birdhouses for other birds such as the American Kestrel and the Screech Owl can also be used for Barrow’s Goldeneye. The birdhouse should have an 8” x 8“ floor, 15” inside ceiling, 3” diameter entrance hole (located 12” above the floor) and ventilation openings. For easy access, the roof should be hinged.
The birdhouse should be placed at least 10 feet above the ground, if possible higher. An ideal location would be on a tree trunk near the water. Experts suggest that the birdhouse be located within 100 feet of a body of water.
A monogamous bird, Barrow’s Goldeneye usually starts breeding at 2 years of age. Pairing starts in later winter, just right before they start their northward migration.
As a diving duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye is an expert diver. It feeds in shallow waters, diving near the bottom to get its food. Its main fare consists of aquatic invertebrates and fish eggs. However, it also eats fish, frogs, shellfish, insects, seeds, and some plants.
- The name Barrow’s Goldeneye comes from the word “bullhead” in Icelandic.
- In 2000, Barrow’s Goldeneye was designated a “Special Concern Status” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
- No one knows where these birds nest during summer and spring!