About this time of winter every year, WC starts to get twitchy for spring migration. Sure, winter birds are nice, but if you want color, if you want variety, if you want tons of birds, you want spring migration. Because WC has chronically bad judgment, his bird photography trips start a long time before spring migration. As in this past Friday. There weren’t any spring birds, but there were some Hooded Mergansers, “Hoodies” in birder slang.
Hoodies are a bit unusual because they nest in cavities in trees, laying almost spherical eggs. They aren’t the only duck to cavity nest, but they are the only one to lay spherical eggs. They are also the only member of the merganser family confined to North America.
One of the striking things about watching Hoodies, especially drakes, is the wide variety of positions their hoods – the white and black crest – can take. This is a mediocre photo, but it does show some of that variety.
Those hoods are used extensively in courtship . But that’s a ways off still. Because it isn’t yet spring.