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Two days ago I happened upon about a dozen Buffleheads involved in their annual courtship rituals at the refuge. Male Buffeheads court their future mates by a vigorous exercise of head bobbing, diving, running on water, and flying over the head of the female ducks.

Male Bufflehead.

Male Bufflehead running toward female.

Male Bufflehead flying over female.

Male Bufflehead flying over female.

Male Bufflehead trying to impress female.

Sometimes, a female Bufflehead chased a male away.

Female Bufflehead chasing after male: “Get out of my sight, you … duck!”

Male Buffleheads competing for attention from female.

Male Bufflehead: “I am the greatest!”

Female with male Buffleheads paddling fast in background.

The courtship also took place underwater, perhaps with the males trying to prove they could be good foragers. I saw them dive and spend a minute or two submerged, but unfortunately was not equipped to take photos under water.

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