Hooded Mergansers

I thought I would take a break from the Oregon posts and tell a quick story about some Hooded Mergansers I shot at the Viera Wetlands in January. Hooded Mergansers are small ducks that have a really cool hood or crest on the top of their heads. They can raise or lower the hood depending on what activity they are involved in. During courtship and mating season, the males raise their hoods as a way to attract the females. They also swim around the females and extend their necks upward to enhance their hoods and make themselves more attractive. They are at their most beautiful when their hoods are extended and both males and females are quite photogenic.

So it was on this particular day that there were several Hooded Mergansers that kept coming out of the water to rest and preen on a log in the marsh. As I photographed them during the morning, they would come up on the log singly or in groups. Most of the time, they were looking off in the wrong direction, giving me uninteresting poses, or just standing on the log looking bored. I took lots of images that day that ended up in the trash can because they were just ordinary.

But every now and then, nature puts on a show and if you are prepared, you just might capture something interesting.

I found this particular series of images a lot of fun to review after I got home and I could just imagine the conversation that was going on between the male and female. Obviously the female wanted nothing to do with the male, and he eventually got the point. The other aspect of this series is the seemingly nonchalant attitude of the second female as she watched the events unfold before her. Who knows whether this was a dispute about territory or if the male had forgotten to bring home flowers for his mate. Maybe they saw the cameras and wanted to see if they could get on the popular TV series, “The Hooded Mergansers of the Viera Wetlands”. Regardless of what was going on, it is fun to assign comments to an image based upon the poses, actions and features of your subjects.

I hope you enjoy the series. Click an image to view a larger version.

Hooded Mergansers
There’s no room for you here, buddy! Get lost!!
Hooded Mergansers
I told you not to come home empty handed!!
Hooded Mergansers
And don’t come back until you bring me flowers!
Hooded Mergansers
Hey! I’m going, OK? Give me a chance!
Hooded Mergansers
Kids these days.