Merganser Display

Top Photo: Three male hooded mergansers try to impress female, though she seems little interested.

Anywhere from a single individual to 6 hooded mergansers have been seen cruising the wetlands during the last month or so. Keep an eye out for small groups as they may be performing a pair-bond display as in the photos posted here.

The males vie for the female’s attention, each aiming to become the one she chooses to mate with. They dance around in the water, strut, and emit a soft, rolling Wa-waaaaarrr sound as they go.

Not to be left behind.
Very ambitious.
Which one to choose, wa_waaaarrr.

The pair-bond is made here on the wintering grounds upon arrival or soon after. They may even display copulatory behavior onsite to save time during spring’s return to their breeding areas. All that’s left is to find a nest site (tree cavity or nest box as in our wetlands) and the deposition of eggs. Once a nest location is determined the male has little or nothing to do with the care of the young, it’s all up to the female.

Wood duck/merganser nest box.

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