Monday, March 22, 2010

At the pond... Hooded Merganser

Hooded MerganserHooded Merganser, Hillsboro, Oregon on 16 February 2009 by Greg Gillson.


What is it that makes the Hooded Merganser such a desirable bird to see? Why is it on everyone's list of favorite ducks?

Well, certainly, birds with crests seem to be favorites (think cardinal, pileated woodpecker, and cedar waxwing). As crests go, the Hooded Merganser's flamboyant fan-like headdress is pretty impressive!

But this striking beauty rarely parades around in the middle of the pond showing off with all the other ducks. Instead, like searching for hid treasure, this secretive inhabitant of backwaters and wooded pond edges usually takes a bit of effort to find.

Hooded Mergansers breed along forested ponds and streams across the mid-latitudes of North America, wintering coastally and southward where water remains open in winter.

In the Pacific NW, they breed in wooded wetlands, most commonly west of the Cascades. They also breed at scattered locations east of the Cascades, such as in NE Oregon, across northern Washington and southern British Columbia, to northern Idaho. They winter throughout the region on open water, though most commonly on freshwater ponds and quiet rivers west of the Cascade crest.

They nest in old flicker holes and will nest in artifical nest boxes designed for Wood Ducks. The chicks are precocious and leave the nest cavity for protected waters the next day after hatching.

They dive for fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.

1 comment:

  1. Hooded Merganser, what a glorious looking bird and you did an absolutely splendid job in capturing this great image~