Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hooded Merganser

This young Hooded Merganser rested at the McLane Creek Nature Trail, near Olympia, Washington, on 20 July 2014. Unlike the nearby Wood Ducks (see last post), Hooded Mergansers are single brooded. Males abandon the nest cavities when the females begin incubating. Females are on their nest for about a month. The hatchlings leave the nest within a day of hatching, in response to the females' calling to them. The ducklings feed themselves, even on their first day out. They are capable of diving, but often feed with just their heads underwater. They eat aquatic invertebrates. The young fledge after about 70 days. Banding studies show that some young fly up to 700 km north in the fall before moving south in the winter (Dugger et al. 2009).

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