American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 16

GOLDEN-EYE (Clangula clangula americana). A handsome hardy species, length 19 inches, that occurs commonly throughout North America at different seasons, breeding commonly in northern Canada and south locally to northern United States, and wintering throughout the United States. At times we find them in the Northern States when the only open water is an occasional air hole, through which they are able to dive to the bottom and secure their food of plant, mollusks or fish. Golden-eyes are among the most active of all ducks. They spring from the surface of the water with the greatest of ease, their rapidly whirring wings producing a whistling sound, during flight, that can be heard even before a flock comes into view; on account of this sound, these birds are almost exclusively known among sportsmen as "Whistlers." Another name applied to them is "Spirit Duck," this because they can disappear so very rapidly under water.

     Golden-eyes normally lay their six to ten grayish-green eggs on a bed of down in cavities of trees, but as suitable sites are scarce many of them locate on the ground under concealment of logs, rocks, etc.


BARROW GOLDEN-EYE (Clangula islandica). Otherwise known as the ' ' Rocky Mountain Garrot," this species, which differs from the preceding in having a white crescent before the eye in place of a round spot, having the head glossed with purple instead of blue and in having less white on the wings, is not nearly as abundant as the common Golden-eye. They breed in Canada north of the St. Lawrence and in the Rocky Mountains south to Colorado and winter only to the northern border of the United States. They commonly frequent quite turbulent streams, especially while nesting. The females of the two species of Golden-eyes so closely resemble each other that only the differences in the shapes of the bills can identify them, that of the present species being higher at the base when viewed from the side, and narrower at the tip when viewed from above.