“Cassie” Canvasback’s Return

If you followed me last year, you may recall my posts (highlighted below) on a female Canvasback that I named “Cassie”.  She had not migrated back to Canada last Spring, so I took a special interest in her and learned her left wing was damaged.  Cassie wasn’t able to fly back home to breed.

     She Is A Survivor  (first post May 30, 2018)

Cassie hung around Cambridge Creek throughout the summer and was a delight and inspiration to me.  I adored her, but as comes with getting attached, I worried about her survival too.  Yet, she continued to prove she could take care of herself.  Even if she could not fly, nor dive for food.

     Cassie Canvasback – Remember Me?  (second post August 2, 2018)

After the second post, I captured her a few more times.  Here is one of the last photogenic shots of her back then hanging at our end of the creek.

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“Cassie” Canvasback – August 10, 2018


I sighted her a few times after that, but it was at a distance down the creek.  Those sightings became less and less.  By the end of September, I didn’t see her any more.  The wintering Canvasbacks weren’t due here until December.  What had happened to her?  I worried and continued to watch for her.

On the afternoon of December 21st, I stepped out on my balcony to check for wildlife on the creek.  Lo and behold, there was a female Canvasback below me.  Cassie was back and pretty as ever!

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“Cassie” Canvasback – December 21, 2018


How did I know it was her?  It’s as if she read my mind.  Cassie flashed her wings for me shortly thereafter.

         “Cassie” Canvasback                                    See damage to her left wing in this photo?


I could tell many of her feathers had grown back on her left wing.  How wonderful!  Is she able to fly now?  I don’t know that yet; I hope if she can, she will fly in or out of the creek one day to show me.

What about diving for food, can she do that now?  She couldn’t before and had to forage piers, boats, and bulkheads for food.

Two days later, Cassie showed off her redeveloped diving skills.  I was delighted for her!

Cassie showing me her diving skills


Did you miss that?  Here, Cassie will do it again for you.

Cassie doing the dive


More from the past several weeks of beautiful “Cassie”.

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“Reflecting Cassie”


Even ducks have itches!


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“On the Move”


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“Nap Time”


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“Making Water Rings”


We iced over here at the top end of Cambridge Creek; and, of course, all the birds disappeared but the gulls.  The ice has since melted, and I saw Cassie yesterday.

Even though hundreds of Canvasbacks are not too far from the creek’s entrance off the Choptank River, and maybe that is where Cassie has been “hiding”, how nice that she returned to Cambridge Creek that offered her a home to keep her healthy and safe as she healed through her wing injury the past year.

Welcome back, Cassie!



46 thoughts on ““Cassie” Canvasback’s Return

  1. It is so lovely having ones own special wild bird Donna, and this Cassie has become yours. My little Butcherbird who sings to me and visits me every morning is mine. I love it when I hear him washing in the dog’s drinking bowl, which I continue to fill even though the dog has passed some time ago. It is also great to see the same bird return to the same place. Many of our birds are territorial so you will hopefully see them again in the same area, even a year later.

    • Thank you, David! My having a bit more than a 180-view and at my balcony height, the lighting on the water can be so different from one area of the water to the other. Cassie was in the perfect spot in that second photo. Love when that happens! 😊

  2. Cassie is so sweet, I love the pics of her having a scratch! It’s wonderful isn’t it when you form a bond with a wild animal and care about them and hope they are okay, and then they appear later and show you how well they are doing. Cassie’s future looks promising now. 🙂

  3. Wonderful pictures and wonderful story! I like to think that the great blue herons that are regularly in our cove are the same ones I see out on the heron nests, but they don’t give me any of the ‘signs’ that Cassie gives you. So instead I just ‘pretend’.

  4. I quote myself from the first time we knew about Cassie : “It’s sad that a creature becomes handicapped and limited. Her risks have increased enormously! I wish that her wing bones heal and she is able to live a normal life.” I think she’s a winner! Her wing is healing properly and getting strong day by day. I hope she gets a mate that will stay with her until the day she will be able to fly again and migrate with her brood. 🙂

  5. How wonderful! I’m so glad she survived and healed too! Did I tell you the Canvasback is on my bucket list? I’ve seen them, but they’ve not been close enough to photograph one so it remains on my bucket/life list. One day I hope to see one this close!

    • Thank you Deborah! No, I didn’t know. OMgosh, down be the river, you can get within 10 feet of them behind a concrete barrier. I still pinch myself when I’m standing there watching them, mixed in with Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon, Mallards, and Redheads. Amazing!

  6. How lovely that the injured Cassie survived and seems to be thriving. Funny how we get attached. I haven’t been back to check on ‘my’ eagles’ nest since I moved south. I still wonder if they’re still using the nest or how they’re doing. It was such fun watching them go from one eagle sprout, to two and finally three. I should make a point of stopping by when I’m up in that area. It gets tougher trying to fit in a long list of errands while back in the “big city”, but perhaps now that the days are getting longer?

    • Thank you, Gunta, she’s a trooper! It is funny how we do get attached on wildlife we see daily. You’ve watched them grow and thrive, and you live through some of their ups and downs. Yes, you’ll have to stop by some time to see your Eagles. I bet they miss you! 😉

  7. What a wonderful reunion!! So happy that Cassie is doing OK. And I agree, it does like she is smiling for you 🙂 ❤ This made my Monday morning. Thank you 🙂

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