I'm hoping some of you can give me some insight into this Hooded Merg
mystery (to me). I live on East Warren Rd in Waitsfield and have a small
pond in my backyard. My neighbors also have a pond that is actually a
dammed up part of a brook and at least 1/8 of a mile away (as the duck
On June 17, my neighbors had three baby ducks on their pond, no mom with
them. They were there for a few days, dwindled to two, one, none.
June 23 - I found a single baby duck on my pond, I knew it was a merganser
and determined it was a Hooded after looking at photos online and some
advice from friends. Baby was active, feeding, preening the next two
days. Two years ago I had a baby Wood Duck on the pond for four days, but
mom came back one day with four sibs and they all waddled off into the
woods together. I thought the same thing might happen this time.
June 26 - A single female Hooded Merg on my pond early in the morning,
then I had to leave, so I don't know how long she was here. The first and
only time I've seen her or any Hoodie on my pond this year. I did not see
the baby with her and she was gone, but the baby still here when I
June 27-28 - Baby continues to live alone in the pond, growing bigger. In
the afternoon of June 28 at 3 PM, he disappears. At 6 PM I receive a call
from the neighbor - there's a baby on her pond. I went over to take
photos, seems to be the same bird, definitely the same species and age.
Here are my questions:
Do mother Hooded Mergansers sometimes abandon their newborn?
What is the likelihood that the female was the mom that then rejected the
How likely is it that this baby has moved from the neighbor's pond to mine
and back again on his own?
Does this baby have a chance of surviving to adulthood on his own?
Thanks for any insight you can give,