A handsome drake Canvasback loafs in frigid Lake Erie waters, off Miller Road Park in the city of Avon Lake, Ohio. I was there bright on and early on the morning of February 20. I recall the temperature upon arrival was about 9 F, and brisk winds off the lake made it seem much colder.
The "Cans" didn't care. Hundreds were present, and these hardy diving ducks thought nothing of the icy cold and near-freezing water. Ice had formed on some of the ducks in the drowsing rafts.The botanical proclivities of this animal is noted in its scientific name: Aythya valisineria. The specific epithet stands for the genus of eel-grass, or wild-celery, Vallisneria americana, a favored aquatic plant food source of Canvasbacks. Famed early ornithologist Alexander Wilson named this animal, but misspelled vallisneria.