Hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus),
Common merganser (Mergus merganser ), and
Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator )
- local seasonal appearance

Based on 18 observations in Seymour township, Northumberland county, southeast Ontario, 1998-2014.

This elegant family of ducks may be spotted along the local waterways, including the Trent and Crowe rivers and Trout Creek. They appear, from these scattered observations, to be late winter and early spring voyagers, seen between 26 January and 4 May. They appear singly, in pairs and small groups of up to five birds. If they are mostly northward migrants, as the dates suggest, then it is interesting that the hooded merganser is seen mainly in pairs, suggesting that they travel together, like many Canadian car-driving "snowbirds"! It also seems that they may take an alternative flyway on their southward journeys. Quite distinctive, they appeared at numerous other locations over this same period, in northern Michigan and across southern Ontario between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa valley.

The hooded merganser is the most inclined to breed near our area, with a concentration on the Canadian shield north from Kingston (Cadman et al., 1987, pp.98-103). The later edition (Cadman et al., 2007, pp.112-117) indicates a strong increase in numbers for the hooded merganser, notably in southeast Ontario. At Presqu'ile park (LaForest, 1993, pp.93-96) the three species are common spring migrants. They are also seen in the fall passage. Similar patterns apply in the Kawarthas (Sadler, 1983, pp.54-56).

View the complete 16-year (1998-2014) monthly data summary (393-kb pdf file).

References

Cadman,MD, Eagles,PFJ and Helleiner,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.

Cadman,MD, Sutherland,DA, Beck,GG, Lepage,D and Couturier,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada,Environment Canada,Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.

LaForest,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.

Sadler,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.


Graham Wilson, posted 31 August 2014


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