An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Hooded Mergansers Fledglings are Dispersing

7-18-14 young hooded merganser 041Within 24 hours of hatching, Hooded Merganser ducklings leap anywhere from 8 -90 feet from their arboreal cavity nest down to their mother, who is calling to them from the water below. Capable of swimming and diving right away, the ducklings begin feeding themselves immediately. Weighing little more than an ounce, they mostly eat insects, including backswimmers, water boatmen and diving beetles. Eventually, as the ducklings grow, they work their way up to fish and crustaceans — particularly crayfish, such as the pictured merganser has caught. In addition to its size, the lack of a real “hood” indicates that this Hooded Merganser is a youngster.

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4 responses

  1. The first merganser I ever saw was dead. I was nine or ten years old, walking by the pond below our house, when I found it. I remember being awestruck by the bill.

    July 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    • Yes, their bills are quite unique, aren’t they? I love the ridges!

      July 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

  2. I love learning new things from you! Arboreal cavity nesters – well now I know where to look! We love seeing the puffball babies on the river after they first hatch, bobbing behind their mama.

    July 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm

  3. Tom Reynolds

    Hi Mary I saw a mother and 4 small ones at the farm a month ago and then again a couple of weeks ago but their was only one small one with her mother Tom Reynolds

    July 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

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