NESTING: The hooded merganser builds its nest in a cavity, whether natural (tree) or man-made (box). Size: These are the smallest of the native North American mergansers, weighing 1.5 pounds at maturity with a length of 16-19 inches. Especially sweet to see one of the kit foxes playing with a ball of cashmere from the goats. “That is really too much.”. From inside the nest, the little fluffballs scramble up to the entrance hole and then flutter to the ground, which may be 50 feet or more below them. When in breeding plumage, the males have an unmistakably large white crest outlined in black, creating an attractive contrast. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Click to order my first book, a photographic guide for children entitled Milkweed Visitors. Mr. Cizek said he first stumbled upon the brood in late June, when he headed out to the local lake in an eight-foot plastic boat he bought to fuel his outdoor photography. Within the first day or two of hatching, the young Mergansers jump to the ground and enter the water. Lifespan: Hooded Mergansers have been noted to live over 6 years old, although older could be possible with good husbandry. But, in a twist, common mergansers don’t incubate only their own eggs. Ragged crest is cinnamon brown, warmer than the rest of the body. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘Mom of the Year.’”. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Males raise their crest, pump their head, flap their wings, and give a froglike croak. They require a sufficiently large and diverse water source. “It kind of compels you just to look and wonder: How?” Mr. Cizek said. The hindback, rump and tail are dark brown. Hooded Mergansers Fledglings are Dispersing. Click the image above to order the updated edition of the award-winning original NATURALLY CURIOUS, Click here to order Naturally Curious Day by Day. It’s hard to picture a duck flying straight into a cavity in a tree, but there are several species of waterfowl that do just that in order to incubate their eggs in a relatively safe location. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Females can lay up to a dozen or so eggs, according to the National Audubon Society. Guarantee claims will require USPS Form 2856, Optimal Temps required at origin and destination. Hooded Merganser Ducklings On The Water. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Experts say the photo, which has been shared among bird conservationists and featured on the National Audubon Society’s website, offers an extreme example of a somewhat common phenomenon in nature. Mama is a common merganser, a duck found on freshwater lakes. Housing Requirements: Hooded Mergansers are divers and are agile swimmers. First, their mother checks the area around the nest and calls to the nestlings from ground level. The female Hooded Merganser selects a nesting site in a living or dead tree cavity or in a handmade nest box. Flamboyant small duck with oversized head when crest is extended. Smaller than other mergansers (compare to Red-breasted Merganser at right). Status in the Wild: Although they were once in serious decline, the Hooded Merganser population now is increasing. Miscellaneous Notes: The male Hooded Merganser produces a fabulous collection of sounds during breeding and courtship. On another trip to the lake this month, he said, he counted as many as 76. The entire brood departs the nest within a couple of minutes. The male’s outstanding feature is the black and white fan shaped crest that gives the bird its name sake. The females at Lake Bemidji, many of which are related, lay eggs that hatch around the same time, he said. Dozens of common merganser ducklings following Mama on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota. In a crèche, females leave their ducklings in the care of one female — often an older female who is experienced at raising babies, said David Rave, an area wildlife manager who oversees the Bemidji region for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.