How skilled are you at identifying waterfowl? Here's a challenge:
Spring in Vermont can be cold. It's May, but last night it was CHIL-LAY, so when we got home from work Champ went to light a fire in the woodstove. He found a surprise...
We've had bats in the chimney before, but never a bird. A bird! The household rallied around Champ to get it safely out of where it was hunkered down in the woodstove (it hadn't been there more than a day).
As Champ released it, the dazed, but healthy bird immediately flew toward our pond and landed on the water. Does that make it a duck? We think so, but we don't recognize it. I checked in with a great New England birding resource, but in the meantime do you have any guesses?
edited to add: Apparently I have quite a few birders following this blog! Thanks to all of you for your identification of our mystery duck. As was our house guess-and many of yours (you smarty pants!)- the official answer is: it was a female hooded merganser. A very, very sooty one. Special thanks to Chris Bosak of Birds of New England for helping me to identify our feathered friend!!