The Merganser chicks’ wings are developing. They aren’t big enough to fly yet but they can dive and they look like they are flying under water.
Mama Merganser is on the left in the next photo. Compare her wings, which include a white patch, to her chicks. They’ve had their nap and are now ready to get back to business.
Before this family landed on the rocks of the Alsea River, Mama Merganser was chasing something in the river. I couldn’t see what it was but 2 Mallards also came from across the river quacking at the same thing. Whatever it was never came back. The Mallards didn’t even have chicks with them. I thought it was cool that they joined forces with Mama Merganser.
With as many predators who love the tender merganser veal I’m always impressed by the number of chicks a mom is able to raise. This mom has eleven chicks and it is probably due to their strict obedience to her.