While many Canadians would prefer to be swimming in the tropics right about now, who would have thought that some birds consider the icy waters of Lake Ontario a great place to spend the winter. For them our climate is just ducky.
Diving ducks such as scoters, scaup, goldeneye and mergansers are right at home as long as the lake remains ice-free. Unlike Mallards that tip upside down for aquatic vegetation along the shore, these ducks find their meal at greater depths.
Mergansers are principally fish eaters while the other divers feed on molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants. The attractive male Long-tailed Ducks, often present in large numbers have a striking appearance, with a long slender tail. All of these birds will be with us for the winter. You can find rafts of diving ducks bobbing on the waves, even on the coldest days of the winter but dress warmly if you plan to observe them.
By Brian Morin
Publisher of Ontario Birding News