Saturday, July 16, 2016

Coastal BC Birds: Common Merganser Duck

Common Merganser Duck

Almost any time of year, you can see Common Merganser ducks paddling around the waters near our float cabin home on Powell Lake.

Female Common Merganser

Males are distinctive with a white body and bright green head. Females have a mottled gray body and rusty brown heads with feather sweeping back in a "hairdo" reminiscent of one we used to call a ducktail. How apropos. One thing that makes females difficult to identify is that immature Mergansers have similar colouring.


Mergansers are fish-eating ducks, so you will often see them diving for a tasty meal along our protective log booms.

Resting behind the plants on one of our floating stumps.


A few years ago, we saw a mother Mergansers taking her babies for a ride on her back. Then just after I wrote this post, we had a mother Merganser swim right in front of our cabin with nine babies either on her back or trailing out behind.

Momma Merganser with nine ducklings in tow.

Mergansers nest in cavities in trees well above the ground. The flightless chicks bravely leap to the ground within days of hatching and immediately begin foraging for themselves. How cool!!

An interesting side note is that one of the food sources listed in freshwater sponges.

I'll have to keep an eye on the ones I found on our steel anchor cables to see if they get nibbled down. -- Margy


Reference: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology www.allaboutbirds.org (online)

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos; lovely birds.

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    1. They are almost year-round visitors. We love to watch them in all seasons. - Margy

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  2. Delightful photos - love the one with the babies. You seem to have the perfect habit for them, glad they visit you.

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    1. Just after I posted this we saw a mom and her babies come right in front of the camera. Pictures coming next week. - Margy

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  3. The merganser with babies is adorable. They are certainly happy living by your cabin.

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    1. We have so many babies to watch this year. The Oregon Junco comes to the seed feeder which her three huge chicks to feed. They are as large as she is already. - Margy

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  4. Why didn't I have ducklings instead of kidlings. They sound very easy on the parenting scale.

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    1. Guess she can say, "Get off my back!" and mean it. - Margy

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  5. Lindas imagens!
    adoro patinhos nadando no lago!
    tenha uma boa semana

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  6. Don't you love them??!!

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    1. They are so cute when they ride on their mother's back. - Margy

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  7. Great shots! I like ducks.

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