An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Hooded Mergansers Seek Open Water

hooded merg in snow 050Hooded Mergansers are short-distance migrants that can be found in eastern North America year round where ponds and rivers remain open and slow-moving fish, insects and crayfish are plentiful. Some individuals migrate south and southwest in winter — 80% of birds banded in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York were recovered in coastal Atlantic states from New Jersey to Florida. A smaller number actually migrate north to spend winters in the Great Lakes and southern Canada. While numbers swell in March/April and November in northern New England due to migration, if there is open water you may well see Hooded Mergansers this far north throughout the winter.

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5 responses

  1. Marilyn

    Lovely photo. This prompted me to google mergansers. There is so much nice info to be found: for instance, I had never seen a photo of the male with his hood “relaxed.”

    January 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

  2. Marilyn

    The common goldeneye also has a white spot on his black head. Perhaps now I will more easily identify each!

    January 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

  3. We have common mergansers on the river, but have never seen a hooded, which would be a thrill. Perhaps it is too small a river, they may prefer a larger body of water.

    January 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

  4. Penny March

    I have seen them on the Ottauquechee between Taftsville and Woodstock. Not recently though.

    January 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm

  5. Annette

    A couple friends and I just saw a male hooded merganser while out scouting our route earlier this week for our area’s Christmas Bird Count. The Count is scheduled for Sat. Jan. 3rd. This was at Mill Pond in Franklin, near Lake Carmi. We are really hoping we spot him again tomorrow, as this would be a new species to list for our area….plus he is just such a stunning bird to see!

    January 3, 2015 at 3:35 am

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