Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hooded Merganser

Although male Hooded Mergansers are stunning, hens are ducks with unruly coiffures. Erika and I encountered this bird in early May along the Cannon River near Northfield. Breeding across most of Minnesota, our bird may have been a migrant or a summer resident. In any event, females pick and maintain nesting cavities. They readily use nest boxes. These sites are often selected the season previous to their use. Drakes abandon their mates as the hens begin incubation, which lasts for about a month. Once hatched, the young remain in the nest for only a day (Dugger et al. 2009).

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