My 2016 bird list began with this male Hooded Merganser in Carleton College’s Lyman Lake. It swam among hundreds of geese and mallards. With the advent of minus zero temperatures, the waterfall have disappeared and the lake is frozen over.
Hooded Mergansers is our smallest merganser. They are also our only merganser found only in the New World. Unlike other mergansers, the Hooded has a diverse diet—not just fish, but also aquatic insects and crustaceans (Dugger et al. 2009). Behaviorally and taxonomically, Hooded Mergansers are intermediate between the other mergansers and goldeneyes.