Clangula hyemalis (Long-tailed Ducks) were observed diving in the wake of the Nantucket Island ferry during December over a 5-year period (2005–2009). The unusual diving behavior appeared to be related to foraging, but could not be confirmed. Long-tailed Ducks typically feed on more mobile prey than most other diving ducks, and it is speculated that the propeller wash in shallow water dislodged or disturbed prey and provided an enhanced feeding opportunity. Long-tailed Ducks collected while feeding in a disturbed area near a clamming boat not far from the ferry channel were feeding predominantly on Crangon septemspinosa (Sand Shrimp) that apparently had been dislodged by the clamming operation.
Additional Publication Details
Foraging behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in a ferry wake