Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) photos by Larry Jordan (click to enlarge)

The Common Merganser (Mergus merganser americanus) or Goosander (Mergus merganser merganser) as it’s known in Europe, is a large, cold-hardy, fish-eating duck that nests worldwide near large lakes and rivers in northern forested habitats1.

yellow:summer, blue:winter, green:year-round

They nest in cavities, beginning in March or April, usually in trees but will also accept nest boxes with a 15cm. entrance hole. The female chooses the nest site, builds the nest, lays around 10 eggs over a two week period and incubates them for about a month. The male seldom sticks around once the female begins incubation.

The young are born precocial and leave the nest within 48 hours. After leaving the nest, ducklings swim and feed with ease. Most feeding in the first few days is by surface dabbling, but ducklings can dive within 1–2 days after leaving the nest, with “adept” diving skills in 8 days. Females often move broods downstream to larger lakes, rivers and bays from smaller streams and ponds near the nest site1.

After doing all this pretty much by themselves, the females abandon the young before they can fly, usually 30 to 50 days after they hatch. They are able to fly at 60 to 75 days old and do just fine without mom.

I believe these videos are of a group of immature Common Mergansers enjoying the day without their parents 😉

What do you think?

References: 1Birds of North America Online

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.