by Em
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There is a pond not too far from my house, and for the last two weeks I’ve watched a pair of Buffleheads swim around and feed.

From a distance the male looks a striking black and white, but up close you can see there’s much more color going on.

A photo of a male Bufflehead swimming in a pond

These adorable little diving ducks are the smallest species in North America. They measure 13 to 15 inches long with a two-foot wingspan (for comparison a Mallard duck is 20-25 inches long with a 37-inch wingspan). Buffleheads nest in trees and prefer using cavities drilled by Northern Flickers.

A photo of a male Bufflehead swimming in a pond

It’s challenging to try to watch these ducks in binoculars. One moment they are in view, and the next they’ve taken a dive into the pond and all you’re looking at is wavy water. Buffleheads feed underwater where they eat aquatic insects, mollusks like snails and plant material.

These birds will probably stick around the neighborhood for a couple more weeks before flying to Canada for the breeding season.

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