Thursday, August 7, 2008

Common Mergansers, one Big Happy Family

All aboard! Check out the Merganser train depicted in these photos from Jim Dubois, a member of Nature Canada's online community.

Says Jim:
I'm inclined to think that all of those are her babies, but that may be more my heart thinking than my brain. I know they lay up to twelve eggs, but with the mine field of predators they live among, raising the whole batch would take some pretty exceptional mothering skills. Some pretty exceptional luck, too. There's another female in the same area with 11 young, but there are also a couple with none at all. Perhaps the two with the big broods have collected the survivors of
the others. The area I took these shots in is the corner where three active eagle territories abut, so there's no lack of predators. Lots of mink and otter there, too.
Jim gives a lot of his photos to nonprofits to use as educational tools in the hopes that his photography helps people reconnect with the natural world that is so often overlooked or taken for granted these days. Thanks Jim, I'll definitely post more in the future!


Anonymous said...

I live on a lake in Ontario and have noticed the one BIG Family Effect where one female winds up with all the chicks. I lost count at 72 chicks this year with one female. It's a regular occurance in our bay. I call it birdie daycare. I was wondering about this behaviour any insight would be welcomed.