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old-squaw n

Also old-squaw duck[See quots 1876, 1977]

A sea duck (Clangula hyemalis) of the northern Pacific and northern and central Atlantic coasts.

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contains DARE survey quotes
  • 1834 Nuttall Manual Ornith. 2.454, This elegant and noisy duck, known so generally in the Southern States by the nickname of ‘South-Southerly,’ from its note, and, in most other parts by the appellation of ‘Old Squaws’ or ‘Old Wives,’ is an Arctic inhabitant of both continents, and abounds in the glacial seas of America.
  • 1838 Audubon Ornith. Biog. 4.105, They [=long-tailed ducks, Fuligula glacialis] have various appellations, among others those of “old wives,” and “old squaws.”
  • 1844 Giraud Birds Long Is. 338 seNY, This hardy bird at the South is known by the name of “South Southerly;” in this vicinity it is called by our gunners “Old Wife,” or “Old Squaw.”
  • 1870 [see oldwife 2].
  • 1876 Forest & Stream 7.245 MA, The “quaudie,” [sic] (long-tailed duck) is also called the “old squaw,” (never “old wife” hereabout) from its constant chattering.
  • 1892 Auk 9.330, This sprightly little salt water Duck frequents the New England coast . . where it is well known under the cognomens of Oldsquaw, Oldwife, and Quandy.
  • 1924 in 1931 McCorrison Letters Fraternity 60 NEng, You mentioned “old squaws”—a bird I had not thought of for many years. . . “whenever an old Indian squaw dies, her spirit goes into a coot, and that’s why they call them old squaws.”
  • 1950 WELS , 1 Inf, seWI, Old-squaw.
  • 1955 AmSp 30.184, Old squaw duck.
  • 1966–67 DARE
    Qu. Q5, . . Kinds of wild ducks
    Infs ME12, MI2, Old-squaw; MI53, Squaw duck—barred gray and white, many call ’em old-squaw;
    Qu. Q7, Names and nicknames for . . game birds
    Inf ME24, Old-squaw;
    Qu. Q10, . . Water birds and marsh birds
    Inf ME12, Old-squaw—a duck.
  • 1977 Udvardy Audubon Field Guide Birds 494, Oldsquaw. . . In courting, several males display around a female, calling noisily. This phase of the courtship behavior gave rise to their American name.