Monday, January 16, 2017

Hooded Merganser

On 8 July 2016, Erika and I found a young Hooded Merganser at the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, Minnesota. You can tell the age by the dark eye. Adults sport yellow eyes. The species breeds across most of the United States and southern Canada, wintering in the southern half of their range.
Hooded Mergansers leave their nest boxes within a day of hatching. The young eat a variety of aquatic insects. They appear to be especially fond of dragonfly nymphs.
Young birds feed themselves from their first day out of the nest. Only the females care for the young. The hens may remain with their broods for up to a month. Some fledglings move north, up to 700 km, in the fall, before heading back south to their winter range (Dugger el al. 2009).

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