Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha on April 8, 2018

On a second stop of the day at this location birding on the Fox River in Waukesha appeared a Hooded Merganser. This stunning male spent his time checking out the female Mallards one by one. I think this could be the famous Hooded Merganser “Hollyhood” that was here just over a year ago? Well, not really, who knows for sure, but it put on a great show while I was there giving nice views while following female Mallards around on the river. I am almost convinced there is some connection between male Hooded Mergansers and female Mallards as this is my 3rd time I’ve witnessed this behavior with these two species.  What is it with the Hooded Merganser wanting a companion, a mating thing, or ?? It was a cold day with winds out of the northeast, temps below freezing and very little sun. Images were taken on April 8, 2018.

Hooded Merganser, male…crest partially down

His eyes on another female Mallard…

The Hooded Merganser starred at the female Mallard out of the corner of his eye for about 20 seconds, is this the one….

Crest down on this Hooded Merganser swimming over to check out another female Mallard…

Going to check out another female Mallard…crest down…

Cruising over to a female Mallard to see if she was the one!

Crest down…

Crest up…

Crest partially down…

Coming into shore…

Just moving along…

Hooded Mergansers at the Fox River in Waukesha on February 27, 2018

Birding along the Fox River in downtown Waukesha today produced a pair of adult Hooded Mergansers, males. They briefly gave nice views when hanging out with Mallards, but then at times moved short distances up and down the river by themselves. There were still ~50 Common Goldeneye on the river along with some Lesser Scaup, pair of Bufflehead and 100+ Mallards. A short birding run along the lakefront in Milwaukee from Bayview to Bradford Beach produced fewer birds than previous days, nothing to note other than previously reported birds. It seemed like the many large rafts of winter ducks had moved north. I saw many large flocks of ducks flying north over the water yesterday. It was a beautiful spring like day with temps well into the 40’s, sunny skies, low winds. Images were taken on February 27, 2018.

Hooded Merganser, male with crest up…

The pair of male Hooded Mergansers…

Hooded Merganser…

Hooded Merganser some displaying…

Hooded Merganser more displaying…

Hooded Merganser, male with crest down…

Hooded Merganser just floating along…

Hooded Merganser with the wind blowing from behind…

Cruising along…

Hooded Merganser with the crest partially down…

Hooded Merganser male, such a beautiful duck!

Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on January 22, 2017

A stop at the Fox River in Waukesha late morning today gave nice views of a Hooded Merganser, male. It hung around with a large flock of Mallards at times. Once it came up on the shore as someone had tossed out some corn, it appeared to eat a piece. It stood there as the Mallards ate the corn, like it did not know what it was suppose to do there. One time on the water I saw it eat a crayfish. For the most part it felt right at home with the Mallards. Not much else was on the river where I was other than a few Canada Geese. What a beautiful duck! It was a very gloomy day, with the mild temps it did not feel too bad for January. Images were taken from January 22, – February 6, 2017

Hooded Merganser, male

Hooded Merganser, male

Hooded Merganser

Binomial name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 24” wing span

Weight: 1.4 lb

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Hood up

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Hood up

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Hood down

With corn

With corn

Hood down before a dive

Hood down before a dive

The dive

The dive

The dive

The dive

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

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Hood up

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Hood down

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At you

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Crayfish snack!

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Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

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Hood is up!

Hood is up!

Hood is up!

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On the ice

On the ice

Best friends! The Hooded Merganser follows the Mallard, female all day. The little Hooded is always at her side..:)

Best friends! The Hooded Merganser follows the Mallard, female around all day, he is always at her side..:)

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Hood is down!

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Hood is up, just a walk on shore following around the female Mallard

Stretching

Stretching

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Hood is down!

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A quick drink!

Hooded Merganser

A pair of Hooded Mergansers were present on the Fox River in downtown Waukesha WI. today. The female has been around for a couple of days but a male arrived this afternoon. The pair hung together swimming, catching prey and preening. Other species present were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted (m-f) ~30 Common Mergansers (m-f), Redheads (m-f) with many Mallards (m-f). Scaups were also present but I never checked to see if they were G or L as I was focused on the Hooded Mergansers. The river was wide open today with milder temps and the duck were more spread out. The Mute Swans in the area were still the highlight at the river walk to pedestrians, bikers and walkers. Photographs were taken on March 18, 2014.

Hooded Merganser - M (crest up)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest mostly up)

Hooded Merganser

Binomial name: Lophodytes cucullatus

Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans

Size: 18” long, 24” wing span

Weight: 1.4 lb.

Habitat:  This secretive duck prefers wooded freshwater wetlands where mature, cavity-bearing trees exist for nesting. They will also use open wetlands where next boxes have been put installed.

Diet: Small fish, crustaceans (especially crayfish), amphibians, and sometimes vegetation.

Nesting:  They select out of the way places, and the nest is usually well hidden on wooded ponds, lakes and rivers. In most cases it is hard to locate even by experienced birders and researchers. Nest is a shallow bowl usually made of existing materials in the cavity and then slowly adding her belly down after she starts laying 7-13 eggs. Nest cavities are usually 10-50 off the ground.

Cool facts: Hooded Mergansers have eyes that adapt to water clarity, if the water is murky or clear, they can still see their prey.  Considered to be one of the handsomest ducks in North America.

Hooded Merganser - F

Hooded Merganser – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down)

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F, Both preening

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F, Both preening

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F

Hooded Merganser - M (crest up)

Hooded Merganser – M (crest mostly up)

Hooded Merganser - M (crest down) - F

Hooded Merganser – M (crest down) – F