Brave Merganser

While down at the park today, Connor and I saw a female common merganser that seemed to be exceptionally tolerant of our presence. There were a total of three mergansers on the gravel bar when Connor and I arrived at the river’s edge. At first I only noticed a pair of mergansers that was on the far side of the gravel bar. A little later I noticed there was a female merganser by herself on the near side of the gravel bar. She seemed to be well aware of Connor and I. She would turn her head periodically and act slightly uncomfortable when we made too much noise. My experience with mergansers in the past is that they stay away. Indeed, despite my early efforts to stay quiet and unobtrusive, the pair of mergansers got into the river and swam downstream. In the meantime, I videotaped some some crows and a pair of birds that I think were either greater or lesser yellowlegs. As Connor got tired of sitting there doing nothing, he started making noise and dancing a little bit. When some crows came along cawing loudly, he tried to imitate them. Through all of this, the merganser stayed where it was. I decided to go down on the bank and out to a rock even closer to it (though part of the river was still between me and the merganser). Even then, it only looked slightly uncomfortable, but did not move. I began to wonder if maybe it was sitting on a nest and I did not want to disturb it further, so Connor and I left. When we got home, I looked up common mergansers in some of my books to see where they typically nest and found out that it is usually in crevices (in tree hollows or cliffs). This leads me to think that it was very unlikely that the bird was sitting on a nest, so I do not know why it might have been so much more tolerant of my presence than the other mergansers I have seen.

Leave a Reply