Seaside Stories

Buffleheads: Oregon Coast’s Silliest Part-Time Residents

February 15, 2014 | by Veronica Russell

I watch for them in winter. I find my gaze lingering a little longer in the rivers and estuaries as I pass by in late fall, hoping to catch a glimpse of my favorite, funny fancy-boys of the water fowl world: the Buffleheads. Also known as the sea-faring Spirit Duck, these part-time residents of our Oregon coast waterways typically migrate inland to our protected coastal waters to spend the winter.

The males sport their black-feathered backs like a tux jacket with tails, puffed out chests like a crisp white shirt, and a top hat of more formal white and what appears to be black, but is actually a shiny, iridescent purple and green.

You’ve probably seen these small and chubby sharp-dressed men, swimming boisterously along with a handful of friends on the Necanicum or Neawanna rivers in Seaside. Weighing in at about one pound and measuring only slightly over 12 inches in length, these fellows have a quick metabolism and are highly active. In fact, they appear almost as if they are in fast motion compared to their more tranquil cousins, the Canada Geese and Mallards.

They’re cute little ducks for sure, but it’s their antics that make them my favorites: diving dramatically and repeatedly for food, chasing one another to steal a tiny recently procured morsel, taking off for short flights and coming in for a messy, splashtastic landing! These guys often remind me of a scene straight out of an episode of the Three Stooges!

Have you seen these beautiful-feathered waterfowl? Or maybe you have another favorite bird that frequents Oregon’s North Coast in the winter? If you have a favorite birding story to share, please do so by commenting below!

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

The Roaring Twenties on Broadway

The roaring twenties was an exciting era in Seaside.

Learn More
My First Trip to Seaside

Recalling a memorable first trip to Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Beach Access for Everyone

Beach Wheelchair Access is Growing on the Coast Seaside is proud to be among a small number of coastal towns in Oregon to offer fr...

Learn More
Boogie Nights

A look at Seaside's old dance hall and skating rink

Learn More
Accessible Adventures For Everyone

Seaside is open — and easy — for folks of all abilities. From where to stay to what to do, we’ve got a rundown of tips to ma...

Learn More
Seaside Elk

I was driving into Seaside, along Highway 101 South, and had just passed the Circle Creek Campsite on the left, when I noticed several cars parked off the side of the road.

Learn More
Watching Nature Run its Course in Seaside

Wonderful natural beauty in Seaside,

Learn More
Ice cream time in Seaside, Oregon
And the winner is…

Customer Service Awards program in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Honeymooning in Seaside

Part of the fun of planning a wedding is also planning the honeymoon (and I’ve been collecting ideas for both)! Many couples dream of the ideal honeymoon location, and on the top of their list should be Seaside! Sand, sea, and surf, along with amazing places to stay, eat, and be merry.

Learn More
Seaside Inside: The Historical Edition

Above photo: A group plays the historic arcade game, Fascination at Funland Arcade in downtown Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is a popul...

Learn More
Times of Change…

Seasons of change in nature and life.

Learn More
The Sweet Side of Seaside

Above photo: A tray of sweets on display at A Sweet Affaire, held every February. In February, we invite you to bask in the sweet ...

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: Best Eats on Oregon’s North Coast

Article on Best Eats on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Our timeless ocean

Enjoying the ocean can be a timeless endeavor.

Learn More
Coming Soon: Epic New Mountain Biking Trails

Seaside’s natural landscapes are settings for all kinds of two-wheeled adventures, including challenging rides on logging roads ...

Learn More
Seaside Downtown Wine Walk
Seaside’s Spring Downtown Wine Walk

A deeper look inside an annual spring event in Seaside

Learn More
The Cove in Seaside

Rain or shine, the Seaside Cove is a must-see-stop whether you’re a tourist or a local. It’s a mixture of sandy and rocky beach. There are tons of parking spots, and Seltzer Park is just across the street. There are public restrooms and a shower to rinse off sandy feet. There are also plenty of benches for both wave watching and people watching.

Learn More
Everything but War

An image of a classic World War II sign that point from Seaside to all of the major conflicts raging around the world

Learn More