Hooded mergansers typically arrive in our wetlands in November, from the first to third week in November. A trio showed up today (10/20) at the end of the third week of October.
The birds usually get right to the business of pair-bonding upon arrival. The bonds are formed here on the wintering grounds and reinforced throughout the season. When, sometime next March and April, the birds head back north to the breeding areas the pairs are already formed and they can immediately begin nest building, mating, and raising the young.
So keep an eye out for plenty of bobbing and weaving, and “struttin’ of stuff” from the males as they compete for the female’s attention. At times there may be three, four or more males competing for the same lucky female. The females simply sit back and watch the males perform, eventually choosing, to her eye, the most entertaining or skillful player of the troupe.