Hooded Merganser Egg

Today a hooded merganser was in the south nest box for the second time, she stayed about 40 minutes, and she left an egg! We hope she will claim the nest and not just leave some eggs for a wood duck to raise. A merganser used the south nest in 2020 (11 ducklings) 2021 (11 again) and 2022 (2 ducklings). Maybe it’s the same one? I’ve read that they tend to return to previous nest sites where they have been successful.

Although two merganser ducklings hatched in the south nest last year, they were incubated by a wood duck who had 9 other eggs too. Wood ducks and hooded mergansers do that; they lay eggs in each other’s nests. The mother that does the month-long incubating raises them all: hers, and any eggs left by other ducks.

There have been no visits yet in the east and west nest boxes. There are a few wood duck couples around but they’re in the creek and have not been interested in the nest boxes so far. I suspect they’re waiting for warmer weather. It’s been cold and snowy here recently.

Here is a 30 second video of the merganser today as she turned to inspect and cover the egg:

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