are the only merganser that breeds and
winters exclusively in North America. In
the past, they were found throughout the
continent, including mountainous areas,
wherever suitable habitats existed.
Today, they are most common in the Great Lakes
region and eastern Canada
but are also found in the Pacific Northwest.
The habitat preferences of Hooded
Mergansers are very similar to those of Wood Ducks.
They like quiet, shallow, clear-water
pools that have sandy or cobblestoned
bottoms. They prefer ponds that are near
or surrounded by deciduous
woods: river bottomlands, small forest
pools, millponds, swamps and beaver ponds.
Unlike Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers have
a difficult time finding food in
turbulent water, so calm, clear water is
highest on their list of habitat
requirements. Hooded Mergansers are not
likely to nest on large lakes.
live by lakes, rivers and bays. Most
breed in the northwestern part of North
America. As winter nears, Buffleheads
migrate to coastal water on the Atlantic,
Gulf and Pacific coasts. Buffleheads
travel to breeding grounds in Alaska
and western Canada in February, March and
April. They nest in tree cavities,
especially old flicker
holes. The female returns every year to
the area of her birth and lays one egg
each morning for six to 11 days, some
time between mid-April and May.
The Common Merganser
prefers to breed in ponds associated with
upper portions of rivers in forested
regions, and clear, freshwater lakes with
forested shorelines. It winters as far
north as open inland waters are
available. The Common Merganser generally
nests in cavities in hollow trees near
water, but also in dark recesses, on the
ground or in nest boxes. The height of
the tree cavity and species of tree are
unimportant, but the number of suitable
cavities available is definitely limited.
breed across the forested areas of
Canada, Minnesota, Michigan,
Alaska, and the northeastern United States.
They are most abundant among lakes of the
forests, especially where
lakes or deep marshes have substantial
invertebrate populations. They are cavity
nesters and have a strong homing
tendency, often using the same cavity in
successive years. Nests are usually
located near a pond, lake, or river, but
may be found in woodlands up to a mile
from water. Female common goldeneyes nest
in natural tree cavities, abandoned
woodpecker holes or nest boxes.
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