Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hooded Merganser

A Hooded Merganser with raised crest or "hood", North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10
With all my excitement about finally seeing a Wood Duck (11/19/10 Post) in the wild (as wild as Chicago might be), there was another very attractive looking water bird swimming in the midst of the Mallards and Wood Ducks, that I barely noticed it until Val pointed it out. - a Hooded Merganser - Cool! Another first for me - and in the same setting.  Its black (face, scapulars and neck) and white (side of the head and breast) upper body is attractively set off by its reddish brown sides.  When raised (Above), the crest of this Merganser looks like a "Hood" - hence its name. The white spot is enlarged when the hood is raised, and looks like a stripe when the crest is lowered (Below).
A Hooded Merganser with lowered crest, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10
Hooded Mergansers are a yearlong residents of Northern Illinois - often found in sheltered ponds and bays. They seem to prefer ponds near a wood setting where they nest in the cavities of standing dead trees. In the summers, Hooded Mergansers will migrate as far north as the Hudson Bay, Canada; while winters are spent as far south as the Gulf Coast.  We are lucky that they will spend the entire year in the southern Great Lakes regions.
Another Hooded Merganser, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10
Tomorrow I will highlight another first for me - the Red-breasted Merganser. The North Pond was good to me in late October.


Anonymous said...

I think I need to come to Illinois...another fella I have never seen! Love that hood! :)

~Val said...

I didn't notice the way the hood changed until you pointed it out. Cool!