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Hooded Show-Offs

The Common Goldeneye that I got to see over Christmas break was hanging out in a pond with a bunch of Hooded Mergansers. They were preening and diving together. It surprised me how well the Goldeneye blended in with the Hoodies.

Common Goldeneye and Hooded Merganser
Common Goldeneye and Hooded Merganser

At first I was captivated by my lifer Common Goldeneye, but after a little while, I got tired of taking pictures of the rare bird that was just floating on the water, and my attention drifted to the diving Hoodies. I’d never seen this behavior before. The males were throwing their heads up and showing off for the ladies. They were fun to watch.

Hooded Merganser Male Show-Off
Hooded Merganser Male Show-Off
Hooded Merganser Male Show-Off
Hooded Merganser Male Show-Off

Still images don’t do these birds justice. I wanted to take a video, but I was hand-holding the Beast with a 2x teleconverter and the video would have been sea-sickening to anybody who tried to watch it! The guys just kept strut-swimming around and trying to get the attention of the females. Some of the females didn’t seem to appreciate the attention…

No Thank You...
No Thank You…

The guys didn’t take no for an answer. When the ladies flew a short distance away, the males swam on over after them…

The Pursuit
The Pursuit

I wished I had better light and that I was a little closer to the birds. The Hooded Mergansers that come to my retention pond are much closer, but they don’t seem to romp as much as this flock was doing. My Hoodies just like to eat acorns. And fly away when the golfers come too close!

Male and Female Hooded Mergansers
Male and Female Hooded Mergansers

As the sun set, the wing-flapping began. The ladies were the best showoffs in the wing-flapping category, but a male did give me a nice flap just as I had to leave.

Female Hoodie Wing-Flap
Female Hoodie Wing-Flap
Male Hoodie Wing-Flap
Male Hoodie Wing-Flap