An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Hooded Merganser Ducklings On The Water

It’s hard to picture a duck flying straight into a cavity in a tree, but there are several species of waterfowl that do just that in order to incubate their eggs in a relatively safe location.  The female Hooded Merganser selects a nesting site in a living or dead tree cavity or in a handmade nest box. Once mating and egg-laying has occurred, the male disappears, leaving his mate to raise and care for their offspring.

Within 24 hours of her eggs hatching, the female calls to her young from the cavity opening or from the water below, encouraging them to leap up to the opening and hurl themselves out into the world. The entire brood departs the nest within a couple of minutes. As soon as they hit the water, the precocial young ducks are swimming, diving and feeding on water boatmen, backswimmers, diving beetles and other aquatic invertebrates.

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3 responses

  1. Alice

    That’s an interesting event to watch on nature shows, in slow motion.

    May 18, 2020 at 9:12 am

  2. Karen Hein

    Hi Mary, We were surprised and delighted to have 6 kit foxes in our goat pasture this spring. Especially sweet to see one of the kit foxes playing with a ball of cashmere from the goats. As you can see in the photos, our Peaceable Kingdom is wonderful (but I guess we won’t be free-ranging the chicks once they grow up into chickens)!! Thanks for all you are doing—Karen P.S. We are friends of Joan Waltermire and John Douglas

    Karen Hein MD karen.hein10@gmail.com PO Box 607 Jacksonville, VT 05342 802 368-7568

    “What day is it?” “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh …….A.A. Milne

    >

    May 18, 2020 at 11:18 am

  3. kathiefive

    They are such brave little newborns!!

    May 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm

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