Common goldeneye

Kalevala bird

Common goldeneyes © Eero Haapanen

According to the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, the world was created out of the egg of a common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula). In the Kalevala, the common goldeneye is called the sotka, which is also the species’ Estonian name.

The first nest boxes were made for goldeneyes, as they used to be kept as egg-laying birds, like chickens. A female goldeneye has no qualms about laying eggs in neighbouring nest boxes as well, in an attempt to ensure procreation in case its own nesting ends in failure.

The female goldeneye leads its chicks to the nearest water body, but often leaves them fending for themselves when they’re only a few weeks old. You can often see goldeneye chicks feeding on small aquatic invertebrates in the ponds of Seurasaari island.