The Mergansers are Back!

This morning a hooded merganser hen deposited her first egg in the South nest box. This is almost certainly the same one that raised eleven ducklings there last spring. A duck that successfully raises a family will often return to the same nest site the next year. But it is particularly probable because she did almost no “house hunting”. Her only previous visit was for just 10 minutes on Monday morning, then her next visit was this morning and she moved in like she owned the place. She stayed for an hour and 20 minutes (8:30 to 9:50).

She moved aside very briefly and here is the best image that was recorded:

(Her bill is pointed down and that light spot is the back of her crest catching the light.) During the time she’s laying the male waits nearby. Typically the first notice we get to check a camera is when we see a male duck just paddling around in the creek or sitting somewhere all by himself, doing nothing, just waiting nearby. The male and female stay together until all of the eggs are layed and she starts incubation. Then he’s done and goes off to enjoy the summer, hanging out with the other guys. She then does ALL of the incubating for a month, followed by about 2 months of child care.

East and West Nest boxes

Here’s the activity in the other nest boxes in the past few days. All are wood duck visits. As you can see, they typically don’t spend much time in the nest in the early days when they are looking at possible nesting sites.

East NestSunday 3/287:50 – 7:53 (3 minutes)
East NestMonday 3/298:30 – 8:42 (12 minutes)
West NestWednesday 3/317:22 – 7:30 (8 minutes)
East NestThursday April 17:16 – 7:19 (3 minutes)
East NestThursday April 18:27 – 8:35 (8 minutes)

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