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A drake Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) performs a courtship display known as the "head-throw-kick" with the aim of attracting a female.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x at 700 mm, 1/3200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

After reading Tom Grey’s post to the South Bay Birds mailing list on Saturday in which he reported seeing Common Goldeneyes exhibiting courtship display behavior at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, CA, I decided to try my luck this morning to see if I might be fortunate enough to photograph this phenomenon. It took some patience, but eventually I was able to photograph two of the drakes (male ducks) showing off for the nearby hens over the course of several hours. The photo shown above is my favorite from the four courtship displays I witnessed.

Since today is February 12th, I can only assume that these males don’t want to find themselves dateless on Valentine’s Day!

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