Mergansers, Kingfishers, Shiners, and Gambusia (mosquitofish)

Last week, I posted that hooded mergansers, annual visitors from the north, have arrived in our wetlands for the season. They’re busily forming pair-bonds as I write. Over the years I’ve counted as many as 41 mergs at one time floating on our wetland’s water here at the museum. Early in the season it’s not unusual to see larger numbers until the fish-eating diving birds disperse, pairs and small groups choosing their favorite ponds and lakes at which to rest,Read more

Hoodeds Have Arrived!

  This past Tuesday, I suggested that our wintering hooded mergansers will arrive “any day now.” They have arrived! Well, one of them has arrived. A lone male was seen this morning (Sat. 10/31) on the far side of the Wetlands, and what an eyesome creature he is. Stay tuned, others can’t be far behind. Happy waterfowling! Update: As I walked through the Wetlands an hour after posting this, I noticed two more drakes for a total of three male mergansers. Also, sawRead more

Making the Pair Bond

  Yes, it’s that time of year again when the male mergansers that call our Wetlands their winter home, strut their stuff in an effort to win the hearts of the females. The males perform pair bond displays in the fall and winter, pumping out their chests, shaking their black and white crested heads, rearing back and emitting rolling, croaking sounds. It’s much more efficient for these ducks to form pairs during the winter. Time is critical during the breedingRead more

Merganser Numbers Increase

On November 1st, I reported that a male Hooded Merganser arrived in our Wetlands. That bird was by itself until Saturday, two days later, when a female showed up. On Tuesday (11/6) when I made my rounds through Explore the Wild I saw five birds. There are now eight. According to most range maps, Hooded Mergansers are permanent residents in our area. Perhaps they are, but I don’t see them here after mid-April, and that’s usually a non-breeding individual thatRead more