A female duck in Minnesota has about six dozen ducklings in her care, a remarkable image that an amateur wildlife photographer captured on a recent trip to Lake Bemidji, about 150 miles northwest of Duluth, Minn. “It was mind blowing,” the photographer, Brent Cizek, said in an interview. The Hooded Merganser is a distinctively plumaged member of the sawbill group and a native to North America. Other He said he wasn’t expecting to take many pictures that day — he brought one camera and one lens — but then he saw the duck and her babies. The hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a diving duck native to North America. Hooded Merganser drake — Alex Levitskiy, Blue Creek Aviaries. During migration, they can be found in more open waters and even brackish and salt water. Breeding: One year old female Hooded Mergansers start searching for nesting sites but usually don't start breeding until their second year. He began snapping photos while trying to steer in choppy water. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘Mom of the Year.’”. An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com, How to Order Photo Prints, High Resolution Digital Images, and Books, http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFtGPjPWKv0, ORDER NATURALLY CURIOUS, THE BEST-SELLING BOOK BY MARY HOLLAND. The female Hooded Merganser selects a nesting site in a living or dead tree cavity or in a handmade nest box. But 70-plus? 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. Afterward, he said, the adult ducks go off to molt their feathers, leaving their broods in the care of a matriarchal female. “I didn’t know that a duck could care for that many chicks.”. First, their mother checks the area around the nest and calls to the nestlings from ground level. Mr. Cizek, the photographer, has gone back to the lake several times to photograph the ducklings as they grow. A slender, serrated bill helps Hooded Mergansers capture aquatic insects, fish, and crayfish. Lophodytes cucullatus. Movable crest can give head varied shapes; it's usually warmer brown than the rest of the bird, especially toward the tip. 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. Rave said, the size of the crèche in the photo is exceptional. As the name suggests, hooded mergansers are literally “hooded” with a large crest. In summer may be seen with many ducklings in tow. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Most of his sounds are frog like rolling croaks defined by pops. Hooded Merganser Ducklings On The Water. The nest is usually high above ground, which means that the ducklings have to climb down from considerable heights to reach the ground, apparently without getting hurt. Click to order my first book, a photographic guide for children entitled Milkweed Visitors. In a crèche, females leave their ducklings in the care of one female — often an older female who is experienced at raising babies, said David Rave, an area wildlife manager who oversees the Bemidji region for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Miscellaneous Notes: The male Hooded Merganser produces a fabulous collection of sounds during breeding and courtship. Nests in holes in trees and in nest boxes. Ducklings need little parental care—they can dive and collect their own food within hours of hatching. There are two main populations of Hooded Merganser - an eastern and a western. Hooded Mergansers preen while swimming or standing on land. His head is black with bright yellow eyes and is punctuated with a huge crest that is white with a black border. The female Hooded Merganser selects a nesting site in a living or dead tree cavity or in a handmade nest box. Habitat: Hooded Mergansers tend to inhabit forested, small freshwater ponds, lakes, and wetlands. Click on image to order ANIMAL EARS from publisher. About the Hooded Merganser Breeding Hooded mergansers breed from southeastern Alaska, central British Columbia and southwestern Alberta to southwestern Oregon, central Idaho and northwestern Montana; and from central Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, south to Kansas, northern Louisiana and northern Georgia. This is due to the willingness of these ducks to make use of the artificial nest boxes intended for Wood Ducks and other wetland restoration initiatives. They have a preference for slow moving water with plenty of vegetation. Sawbills have narrow, serrated bills. Experts say females often “dump” their eggs in the nests of other birds in an effort to spread out their offspring and increase the chances of survival. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Experts say the photo, which has been shared among bird conservationists and featured on the National Audubon Society’s website, offers an extreme example of a somewhat common phenomenon in nature. Hooded Mergansers are the smallest yet most striking member of the six species of Mergensers. Click here to receive an email when available. 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. Here’s a look at the story — and the science — behind the striking image. They are quite self-sufficient, although the female watches over them for about 2-3 weeks.

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