Friday, June 15, 2012

Common Merganser

Common Merganser

Last year a Common Merganser brood grew up along the Elbow River behind my home. I watched the babies every week for about a month. As they relocated to the water from shore sites and as they swam, there were clearly a few babies that straggled behind. With each passing week the numbers dwindled from eleven with my first sighting to seven and then to six. The Alberta Breeding Atlas reports that clutch sizes vary from nine to sixteen and that the birds fledge 65 to 85 days after birth. During those first two or three months, coyotes are likely a common predator in this region. 
Merganasers are very common on all the rivers and at my office on the Bow, I regularly see them swimming by. They swim low in the water and they are usually the largest birds on the water. They are strong and fast swimmers and with the current behind them they steam downstream like cruising Battleships.

To take off from the water, these big birds need to run along the surface until he have enough speed to lift off.  

April 22, 2013, along Elbow River. Mergansers are not keen on human company and are quick to flush.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. 
Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Sibley, David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge, Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008

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