Top Photo: Adult male hooded merganser.
Each fall we anxiously await the arrival of certain birds which spend the winter with us here at the museum, the big six; yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-bellied sapsucker, white-throated sparrow, hermit thrush, and hooded merganser. Up until yesterday, all but one were accounted for. Hooded merganser was the only bird yet to be seen.
Jim Phillips (Director of OLE – Outdoor Landscape Environments) has won this year’s coveted HOME Award for spotting the first Hooded Merganser of the season in our wetlands on November 6, 2023 (HOME is the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory’s 4 letter code for Hooded Merganser – with many birds, the first two letters of each word).
The ducks usually arrive by mid-November. Though this one is a tad early, occasionally a bird will show up as early as the end of October.
Keep your eyes open for more of these birds as the days roll along. I didn’t see one in our wetlands today (11/7), but I’m on the lookout.
Good spot Jim!