Red-breasted Merganser Summering in its Winter Range / by Todd Henson

A male Red-breasted Merganser sitting on a log looking over its shoulder.

Some birds can be found year round in a location. Others migrate between summer and winter ranges. And sometimes a bird, such as this male Red-breasted Merganser, can be found spending the summer in what is normally their winter range.

Male Red-breasted Merganser preening on a log.

Male Red-breasted Merganser resting on a log.

Red-breasted Merganser typically migrate north during the summer to places like Canada and Alaska. But this male chose to stay in Northern Virginia, spending many mornings sleeping on a fallen log along the shore of a wildlife refuge. Perhaps this male was still too young to breed, so it stayed south where the fishing was good and the temperature warm.

Male Red-breasted Merganser facing the water.

Male Red-breasted Merganser swimming in the bay.

Whatever its reason for staying south, I enjoyed its company and the photographic opportunities it presented.