An incredible encounter with Hooded Mergansers

It was nice to get out and do some birding today in the fall sunshine. I went out today with the intention of a photography day.

I ended up finding 12 Hooded Mergansers and 5 males were out displaying. It seemed early to be displaying since it is not the breeding season. However, I know ducks seem to be constantly amorous.

Usually Hoodies are very skittish but these guys were so in the groove they didn't notice my presence. I lay down on the bank and watched the show. 

The fall leaves lit up the water making it a golden colored pond. They really are handsome drakes! I've never got a decent photo of the male of this species so I was quite thrilled.

Hooded Mergansers displaying in Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting

 I realized after I left that I should have taken some video. I love the funny sounds they make as they cock back their heads.
If you have never seen this display you can watch a video of it below:

I also saw some Gadwall (who were also displaying with their "bek" calls) and many Varied and Hermit Thrushes on my walk.

Male Gadwall in Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

One Hermit was especially accommodating.  He was also in beautiful fall splendor in a beautyberry tree.

Hermit Thrushes in beautyberries in Vancouver - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. Awesome shots! You really captured the beauty and splendor of these amazing ducks!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much I've tried for so long to get a decent shot of a male hooded merganser im glad to have succeeded but still want better yet of the actual mating display haha thanks again my next project I think will be varied thrushes :)

  3. Wonderful photos Melissa! Just amazing!

  4. Your description of the amorous ducks is so funny and apt. I was right there with you watching them, just from your words (and your photos helped, too)! Also gorgeous shots of the thrush in berries, wow.

    1. thank you so much bryony that is so kind of you :D

  5. Astonishing photos, Mel. Keep it up! =)

  6. I love your work. You are a great inspiration, thank you.


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