Monday, October 3, 2011

An odd duck

Because I am up at Cornell for a few days, just a quick older story of a duck:

A couple springs ago, Jimmy and I stumbled across this beautiful male Hooded Merganser strutting around a pond in Providence, despite the complete absence of any females of his species. However, he was not alone.

He spent hours over the days that we birded the area wooing this (or maybe a couple) female mallard. She took no interest in him whatsoever, including going so far as to bite him to drive him away. However he kept at it, running little circles around her with his crest up and driving away any male mallards that deigned to venture too close to her.

Try as he might, there were no odd ducklings produced that summer, however he stuck around long after all other hoodies had left the area for their breeding grounds (small freshwater ponds - they breed in cavities). Whatever happened to him and why he was so attached to a mallard remain open questions.

And on the topic of ducks, the first teal have shown up in MA/RI, as have the first widgeon, grebes and more. Keep your eyes on your local ponds!

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