Young Hooded Mergansers Out With Mother by Todd Henson

Family of Hooded Merganser ducks taking a break on a downed tree.

A short while back I posted a series of photographs of a family of Hooded Merganser ducklings emerging from their nest box for the first time. A number of years ago I was fortunate to photograph another Hooded Merganser family in the same location. These photos show how the young ducklings quickly grow into adolescents that very much resemble their adult parents.

"Mom, watch that tail!," says a young Hooded Merganser as its mother swishes her tail dry.

Mother Hooded Merganser looking one way...

... and then looking the other way.

The mergansers had grown accustomed to seeing people on the boardwalks that stretch through the wetlands. They swam to a downed tree not very far from the boardwalk and took a short nap. I was lucky to be there at that time. I took my camera off the tripod and sat down on the boardwalk to photograph the birds as close to their eye level as I could. To help steady the long lens I brought my knees up and rested the lens between my knees. I’m sure it looked awkward, but it helped steady the lens better than I could have otherwise.

A young Hooded Merganser resting on a downed tree.

The Hooded Merganser mother looks my way one more time before closing her eyes and napping with her young family.

I sat and watched them through their entire nap, slowing down my photographing when they had all closed their eyes. I didn’t want the shutter to bother them too much, though it likely wouldn’t have. I ended up spending a little over half an hour with this wonderful family of Hooded Mergansers, and was fortunate to be the only person there for the majority of the time. I treasure these sorts of moments, and I’m thankful that photography lets me capture them and share them with you. I hope you get at least some small amount of enjoyment viewing this beautiful family.

Rest time over, the family of Hooded Mergansers rise. Notice how sleek the mother's head can sometimes look. 

Family of Hooded Mergansers swimming away after their short rest.

Lunch time! A young Hooded Merganser has caught a tasty morsel.

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