Water is an attractive and useful resource for many species of birds. Whether a species is sifting through the sediments for microorganisms, creeping along the shoreline stalking an unsuspecting frog or insect, or diving into the water for a fish from a high perch, aquatic habitats offer a wide array of prey items. The thick vegetation often found along water edges can provide perching or nesting sites and camouflage against predators. Here are just some of the many birds that use the lakes at Duke Farms:
Wood duckAix sponsa
Food web role: Eats nuts, seeds, plants and invertebrates. Adults eaten by owls, raccoons and foxes. Eggs and young eaten by raccoons, snakes and woodpeckers.
Habitat: Creeks, rivers, swamps, marshes and ponds near forests. Nests in tree cavities.
Did you know? Day-old ducklings must jump out of their nest from a height of up to 22 feet to get to the aquatic feeding ground.
Belted kingfisherCeryle alcyon
Food web role: Eats mostly fish, and some crustaceans and amphibians. Adults and young eaten by raptors. Eggs eaten by mammals and snakes.
Habitat: Any calm and clear surface water, both fresh and brackish.
Did you know? It makes its nest in burrows dug into the sides of steep banks.
Canada gooseBranta canadensis
Food web role: Eats grasses,sedges, some seeds and berries. Adults eaten by bald eagles and coyotes. Eggs and young eaten by many animals.
Habitat: Open landscapes such as lawns, lakes and ponds. Can live in urban conditions.
Did you know? Non-migratory Canada geese are considered a pest species in many locations, including Duke Farms.
Great blue heronArdea herodias
Food web role: Eats fish, insects, small mammals, amphibians, and crustaceans. Adults have no commpn predators. Eggs and young eaten by raptors, raccoons, and crows.
Habitat: Streams and riverbanks, ponds, lakes, and marshes.
Did you know? Special vertebrae allow its neck to form an “S”shape, which aids in quick strikes on prey.
Greater yellowlegsTringa melanoleuca
Food web role: Eats fish, insects, and molluscs. Eaten by raptors.
Habitat: Found in lakes, ponds, coastal marshes and swamps. Only here as a winter resident or during migration.
Did you know? It is a very noisy wading bird, loudly calling “whew-whew-whew.”