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female old squaw on Winnipeg River

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Old Wednesday 18th December 2019, 18:18   #1
Norman Searle
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female old squaw on Winnipeg River

Hi from a newbie to the forum.

I live on the banks of the Winnipeg River overlooking an open water bay. This does not freeze up at any time. It has been down to -30C (-22F) overnight here.

Today I am watching a female Old Squaw swimming and diving with 3 other duck like diving birds. I am unable to id them. They have duck like bills. They have a dark ruddy to black head, black back and light grey to white breast. They have a distinctive cut-off of the dark head half way down the neck to a very white neck below. One has a grey breast and belly and the other two white. A distinctive marker is the black back and the upper sides are dark but lightly mottled progressing down the side to ever more white mottling down to the white breast below. A second distinctive marking is a bright blaze on the leading edge of the outer wing. This is more distinct on two of the three (males?). These three are also slighty bigger than the Old Squaw. I am surprised I can't make an id from my books. BTW, I have seen two Bald Eagles over the open water in the last few days. Cheers.
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Old Wednesday 18th December 2019, 22:24   #2
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Hi, welcome to the forum.

Your birds sound like female, and first winter male Common Goldeneye to me.
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Old Tuesday 24th December 2019, 12:00   #3
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The name Old Squaw has fallen out of favour and this species is generally referred to as long Tailed Ducks. Not apparently for political correctness but to get in step with the rest of the world.
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Old Tuesday 24th December 2019, 13:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyowl View Post
The name Old Squaw has fallen out of favour and this species is generally referred to as long Tailed Ducks. Not apparently for political correctness but to get in step with the rest of the world.
Both - it was part alignment with global usage, and also part by request of biologists working with First Nation groups in Arctic Canada who consider the word 'sq**w' very offensive (it means 'prostitute' originally, and was used pejoratively of Inuit women by other tribes from further south)
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