Pairing Up

Top Photo: Two males strut their stuff in the wetlands.. Hooded mergansers are with us from November to April. Soon after they arrive for the winter they begin the pair bond process, finding a mate. The mergansers won’t actually be mating at this time, but instead are forming pair bonds with future mates (I have, though, witnessed copulatory behavior here in our Wetlands). Once the bond is formed the pair may reinforce the bond during the remainder of the winter. This makesRead more

Who will you choose?

What are the three mergansers in the above photo up to, and why does the one on the right look as though he’s about to charge at the others? They’re engaged in a pair-bonding display, a competition of sorts. They’re trying to win the praise of a female merganser off to the side (just out of the picture). There’s a lot of head-shaking and strutting about during these pair-bond sessions. The birds shake their heads from side to side, rear backRead more