Monday, June 17, 2013

Common Merganser Chick

Common Merganser Chick - Mergus merganser

A mother Common Merganser and her solitary chick have been in the area for the last three days.  On June 15th and 16th I saw the pair around Kingfisher Island and today they were downstream at Goose Bend.
I heard the mother before I saw her. I was in the brush along Curly Creek and I heard the Common Merganser alarm call (Cornell eBird Macaulay Library Master Set). When I reached a vantage point to see the river, I saw the mother swimming fast and purposefully downstream. About 20 meters ahead I saw the chick feeding in the shallower waters off Goose Bend.

Once the mother was united with the chick they swam together downstream to the East and Mom found a safe harbor under some grass hanging over the river.

On the first day I saw this pair, the chick climbed up on the Mother's back and enjoyed a ride downstream.

The Common Merganser is single brooded and there are usually 7 to 14 eggs, and as many chicks. This year I have seem broods with five, five, and nine chicks. Something untoward must have happened to result in only one surviving chick.


Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

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