Courting ducks and night camera videos

Most of these photos and videos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last couple of weeks.

Even though the groundhog saw his shadow, I’ve seen and heard some signs of spring during the last couple of weeks: chickadees and cardinals singing their spring songs, squirrels mating, and ducks courting in the inner and outer harbor.

Field trip idea:  Go to inner or outer harbor to scout for courting ducks and look for signs of beavers.  To walk around inner harbor:  park on the street just west of Lake Shore Drive at 63rd Street (Hayes) or in the parking lot on the north side of the street.   You can walk over to the outer harbor if you park in the 63rd Street beach parking lot and walk south.

Male and female red-breasted mergansers.  Just the males are doing courting displays in this video.  Females have red heads and more white on their chests.

This is the first video I have where both male and female common goldeneyes are displaying.  After the brown female on the left hand side starts displaying, you can hear some of the beeps that the males make when they throw their heads back

At the beginning you can see this hooded merganser raise his crest and make his white patch bigger.  He then displays to a female mallard who already has a male mallard mate.


Common goldeneye male courting female common goldeneye.   You couldn’t hear it very well in the video but there is also a beep with this move.    Male and female red-breasted merganser in the background


I’ve never seen this version of the common goldeneye display before


male and female hooded merganser– male’s white patch is relatively small when his crest is lowered


female is sleeping, male’s white patch is still small


male in sleeping position but he has raised his crest, why?


because a female common goldeneye has hopped up next to him?


canvasback duck




front view


female mallard on ice


herring gull on ice


american goldfinch


coyote on ice at 63rd Street Beach



winter is a good time to see nests in trees and find them on the ground


This northern oriole who nested near the inner harbor used ribbon and fishing line in her nest

I like how beaver nonchalantly steps out of the way of the truck. This video taken in 2011.


beaver with female mallard duck for scale (this photo not taken in last two weeks)


chicken wire wrap stopped beavers from taking down this tree


The saved tree


I’m pro tree and pro beaver.  If you remove beavers from an area, other beavers move in. Wrapping some trees with wire and planting other trees for the beaver is one partial solution.  I think newly cut down healthy trees from all over Chicago should be brought to places where the beavers live to see if they will use them.  Above quote is from the website.


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