Tag Archives: common merganser

Merganser Chicks Ride on Mom’s Back

What an awesome day on the Alsea River!

tidewater alsea river
Head of tidewater on the Alsea River

There were osprey, kingfishers, mallards and common and hooded mergansers.  All the ducks had chicks.

mallard hen and chicks
Mallard hen with chicks

The mallard hen had 8 or 9 chicks with her.  It’s hard to count those little bobbing heads while trying to keep up with mom in the rapids.  Watch the video of the mallard chicks following mama across the river.  They look like they are connected by elastic.

[youtube https://youtu.be/dKQULrAl_gM]

Click on YouTube (bottom right) for a larger video.

A Common Merganser hen had 11 chicks with her today.  She was VERY protective.  She defended them from another female merganser who came too close.

merganser mom defends chicks
Common Merganser mom protects chicks from other merganser

A Hooded Merganser had 3 chicks with her today but I didn’t get a photo.  One of her chicks got mixed in with the Common Merganser’s chicks.  The Common Merganser Mom attacked the Hoodie chick, throwing it across the water several times.  it was a violent attack on such a harmless little baby.  I wondered if she killed the chick but later saw the family intact.  I don’t understand what the threat was.

merganser chicks resting
Common Merganser Mom resting with chicks

Then I finally saw the merganser chicks riding on their mom’s back!  The only way she can get some peace is to dive.  🙂  Watch the video of the Common Merganser mom and chicks:

[youtube https://youtu.be/0HXZEN58tIU]

Click on YouTube (bottom right) for a larger video.

Mergansers Chasing Smolt in the Alsea River

This Great Blue Heron is fishing for smolts but he is not nearly as successful as the mergansers.

Heron-1

Usually the mergansers just dive to get crawdads or mudcats off the bottom of the river.  But smolt were released upriver this month.  Steelhead smolt must be fast because the chase is on!  Check out this video.

[youtube https://youtu.be/Wa4rGNtvfwA]

According to ODFW 20,000 stock and 80,000 wild stock Winter Steelhead, size 6 fish/pound, have been or will be released into the Alsea River this month.  40,000 stock Winter Steelhead are also to be released into Five Rivers.

Read more about the Alsea River Hatchery.