Friday, October 16, 2009

Battle of the Hoodies

Yesterday among peaceful flocks of Canada Geese on the West River a sudden commotion broke out: two male Hooded Mergansers had gotten in to a water-thrashing spat while the females looked on unperturbed.

He is trying to get away, but is overtaken..

 is getting a good thrashing

and is pushed under water, but eventually reemerges unscathed.

The battle seems to end in a draw.

The aggressor strikes a triumphant posture

but  the other one seems to have come out ahead as far as the females are concerned.

And so,  peace reigns again.


  1. Great action shots. Can't wait for the Hooded Mergansers to come back. One of my favorite birds to see during the winter.

  2. Fascinating - It certainly seems like a confrontation of potential rivals, but it is also early. I guess in the bird world, it is never too early to begin lining up the harem for the next year - or whatever.

  3. Great story!

    But I want to see Hooded Mergansers, too! I want to, I want to, I want to!!! (stamping my feet for emphasis, BTW). Life is so UNFAIR!

    (jk! Great post!)

  4. Chris, these hoodies certainly seemed to have acted against type. Reading Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion they tend to avoid large open areas of water, and this one was large and open and they are not gregarious, usually appearing in singles or pairs, except at roost sites.

    Kim and Susan, sheer luck to see them in such uncharacteristic action! The last time I had seen hoodies they were far off and as they spied me they rapidly disappeared behind vegetation.

  5. ...what a spectacular post!! this is a bird I would love to photograph.....he is gorgeous. Great series documenting the battle!

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