Friday, July 25, 2008

Hoodies Gone Wild at Wood Lake

There are three types of mergansers that can typically be found in North America. The smallest of the three is the hooded merganser. The hooded merganser is also the only one of the three that can be only be found in North America.
I typically see hoodies around home during spring or fall migration. I sometimes even see them during the winter, in the few spots where the water stays open. Even though we are considered part of their breeding range, most hoodies seem to continue on past the cities up to Northern Minnesota, North Dakota, or Canada. That is why I was kind of surprised to see a small group of females when I visited Wood Lake Nature Center in mid June.
It should not surprise me to find them at Wood Lake because it would seem to be the right breeding habitat. According to what I have read, thanks Cornell Lab for all the great info, the breeding habitat is forested wetlands, which is a good description for Wood Lake.
Wood Lake is a fairly shallow lake, hoodies prefer shallower waters then other mergansers.
The north and south sides of the lake are lined with woods. There are quite a few older trees which are quite large and which provide cavities for the hoodies to nest in.
If there are no tree cavities available for them to nest in, then there are several wood duck boxes placed around the park that can act as a substitute.
Although the lake is shallow, it is deep enough for the hoodies to dive under water to hunt the fish, and aquatic insects living there.
As you can see in the pics it is also deep enough for the hoodies to splash around and get a little rowdy.

Must of been one of those girls gone wild things because I did not see any males around.


Leedra said...

Photos 6 and 7 are my favorite. Great photos.

Richard said...

Great pictures. You set the standard with them.