Charlie and Feller DeWitt of Muskegon Co. yesterday found and photographed a second-calendar year male King Eider in downtown Grand Haven, along the Grand River at a small strip mall known as Chinook Pier. I was able to see and photograph the bird this afternoon.
Identification of King Eider. An important field mark for separating this species from the very similar Common Eider is the shape of the feathering at the bill base. In this photo you can see that the feathering at the top of the bill extends farther toward the bill tip than the feathering at the side of the bill does (look closely, and keep in mind the sunlight coming in from the left, the right being in shadow).Here it is from a side angle:For comparison, I've done the same thing with a couple of Common Eider photos I took from the web. No matter what the sex or age, this species' facial feathering at the top of the bill never extends as far toward the bill tip as the facial feathering on the side of the bill. Here's a young male Common Eider:
And here's an adult female on the nest:
See my next post to the blog for tips on finding the Grand Haven bird.