Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nesting Merganser Ducks

Every spring we see a pair or two of Hooded Merganser ducks.  They usually stay for a few days or even weeks but always leave.

Male and Female Hooded Merganser's taken on March 29, 2013.

This year was different but I didn't realize it.  Last week we got a glimpse of two ducks that looked like female Merganser's.  I searched through the bird books to see if any other duck resembled them.  They have a very distinct cinnamon colored crest.  I couldn't find anything.  During that same period we would see a mother duck leading her baby ducks to safety into the weeds whenever we would go out on our deck.  I thought they were wood ducks because we see similar behavior from them every year.  Then two days ago I got out the binoculars and looked more carefully.  Right before my eyes camouflaged in the weeds, I saw the mama merganser and her babies.  As I looked closer, I saw the nest with a few more babies in it.  

Some of the baby ducks spilling out of the nest.

Mama on the nest with babies all around.

As soon as she heard me, she started her escape.

Here Mama and babies think they are hiding.  I think there are at least 10 babies.

From a distance these looked like a Wood Duck family.

Later in the day I saw another group heading for the weeds.  The two female Hooded Merganser's that we saw early last week, each had a brood of babies.  The males are no where in sight.  Maybe the Mallard I saw resting on the nest last evening thought he was the father because he was sitting on the exact same nest.

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