Crèche of Common Mergansers

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) with Babies;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been following this female Common Merganser with a large group of babies. I’ve enjoyed watching the babies lift themselves above the water and scamper , at high speed, against a strong current, from one place to another.

I was curious because this seemed like a lot of babies for one female, so I did some research. I discovered that Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Canada Geese and Common Eiders all use this form of child rearing. As what one article described as duck daycare.

I’ve seen this behavior in Canada Geese and I’ve seen a single female lion watching all of the cubs in a pride. So, this is not unusual behavior. Its just something I don’t get to see very often.

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