Protecting nature through research, education, and outreach

The Bufflehead

As we are experiencing the harsh winds and temperatures of the winter season, the waterfowl are embracing it day in and day out. One duck in particular, the Bufflehead, migrates to the coastal waters of southeastern Massachusetts each winter.

The Bufflehead is one of the first winter waterfowl to arrive in this area. If you see one in late November or early December, you know winter is fast approaching. The Bufflehead is one of the smallest American ducks with an average length
of 14”.

The male has a white chest and underside, a black back, and a greenish black head with a large white cap. The female has a mostly brown body with a smaller white patch behind each eye. The origin of the species name, Bufflehead, comes from the words buffalo and head, which relates to the bulbous-shaped head of the species.

When you come to visit the Lloyd Center and brave the temperatures, take a walk on our trails to the estuary and marsh. Gaze to the horizon and you will no doubt find dozens of winter waterfowl. If you look closely, you may be able to find this tiny bird.

If you want a different perspective, go to the top floor to the Osprey Observatory and use one of our scopes to scan the horizon for waterfowl. Whatever the case, enjoy the winter season and discover the diversity of waterfowl in southeastern Massachusetts.