Harlequin Duck in Iowa – December 31, 2014

In November I saw hundreds of colorful breeding plumaged Harlequin Ducks in Adak, in the Aleutian Islands, but never before have I seen a Harlequin Duck in any plumage in Iowa.  This plain jane “Harley” showed up in Des Moines below the Center Street Dam in late December and continues to inhabit our local waters.  I wonder where she will go from here?  Birds found so far out of their normal territory are always of concern for their ability to find their way home.

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The size difference is noticeable between the Harlequin Duck and the Canada Goose.

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