We were treated to quite a show by this Male Hooded Merganser the other day and unfortunately for him we seemed more interested in his display than the female Hoodie he was courting. To begin with, he took on the other male in the pond in a typical Hooded Merganser head bobbing competition. He appeared to win that battle easily. Next he danced around his lady bobbing his head up and down and to our surprise would crook his neck sideways and belt out a little tune for her. The female hoodie would occasionally glance over his way, tuck her head back into her feathers and continue with her afternoon nap. He kept head bobbing and singing for quite some time and we got to witness quite a show but were left wondering was the female just playing hard to get, or was his show subpar?

38 thoughts on “Exuberance

    1. Thanks Jet, it was a quiet day and quiet cold which made us the only ones out that day which I think made the birds a bit more comfortable. We have seen the head bobbing contests before but the singing was a first. Hope your weekend is a great one.

  1. Beautiful bird and photo – the reflection is mesmerizing. I think the female thinks he is bit early in his advances and after all, she was trying to get some rest. Hmmm, some male behaviors are universal, I guess. 😉

  2. Brilliant description. 😀
    And I really like his reflection in the water, btw. A beautiful bird, which can’t be witnessed in Europe, except in Great Britain or Ireland and there only on rare occasions, I’ve just read.

    His gaze seems a bit stressed though, the poor guy. But how charming and impressive, all this effort just to win his lady. But he doesn’t seem to be a show-off – it’s most likely the female playing games. And indeed, some male and female behaviors seem to be equally universal. But isn’t this also part of the fun? 😉

    1. I Suzan, we are lucky to have these guys in out neck of the woods. We only see them on a few ponds around here in the winter. In summer they move on up north.

      I agree this may be a universal story of courtship behavior conserved across the board and he sure was no show off just good at the game so to speak. Hope you have a gray weekend.

  3. This is a wonderful picture and you certainly enjoyed a treat from the natural. i haven’t seen a Hooded Merganser since my last trip to Quetico Provincial Park. — back in the 1996. Thanks for the treat.

    1. Hi Jude, they are a treat for us as well and only around in the winter and scattered about on a few local ponds. By early March they will have moved on. Hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Pierre, the hoodies are sure unique birds with such a fun display to observe. They will only be around here for another month or so then on their way to the breeding grounds.

    1. Hi Jenn, these guys are indeed magnificent and perhaps royal as well. That day there were several out on the pond bobbing heads and singing with all their might to impress the ladies. Very fun to observe.

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