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Aquatic Birds
Canada Goose, Branta canadensis.
Canada Goose, Branta canadensis.

Downtown Ducks

Aerial surveys conducted along the length of the Rideau River that passes through downtown Ottawa spotted an abundance of aquatic birds. Mallards and Canada Geese were using the urban areas quite heavily, perhaps because they know that in the city they are safe from hunters.


Wood Duck, Aix sponsa.
Wood Duck,
Aix sponsa
.


Rare Birds
Patient birdwatchers might be lucky enough to see a Common Loon, Redhead, or Wood Duck along the Rideau River. These birds are rarely seen there.

 

The Rideau River: An Important Migratory Staging Area

Birds of a feather flock together! And, happily for birdwatchers and hunters, aquatic birds flock to the Rideau River and its banks in great numbers.

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos.
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos.

In fact, 22 species of aquatic birds, almost all species of ducks and geese, were found during the Rideau River Biodiversity Project. The research, conducted by staff members and volunteers of the Canadian Wildlife Service, is the first extensive survey of its kind to be conducted along the Rideau River.

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias.
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias.

Several species of aquatic birds, such as Mallard and Wood Duck, are already known to nest and raise their young along the Rideau River. Aerial surveys conducted during the autumn of 1998 and spring of 1999 shed light on the River's seasonal role as a migratory staging area.

In spring, the migration route of numerous aquatic bird species takes them by the Rideau River, and many stop there for a breather. After having rested and eaten, they resume their journey to their nesting grounds further north.

In autumn these birds migrate to areas where the water doesn't freeze, usually in the southern and central United States. Aquatic birds return to the same place to breed and raise their young every year, usually the place where the females where raised. They even stop at the same rest places along the way!

The Rideau Bird Sanctuary, which is bordered by the Rideau River, is one of the most important migratory staging areas in the Ottawa Valley for aquatic birds!

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 Aquatic Birds
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 Don't Overlook...
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 Meet the Relatives!  
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Common Merganser, Mergus merganser.
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A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
  
 Images: Canadian Museum of Nature, Hemera