A brace, a flock, a paddling, a badling…say what?

This hen merganser duck has quite the little flock to tend to.  Chris & Pete who took the picture said they were able to count at least two dozen ducklings, but zooming in on the photo I can see over 30.  It is pretty unusual to see this many ducklings with one mama duck.


Mergansers usually lay between 6-17 eggs.  The other remarkable thing is these little ducks are getting some size to them.  Baby ducks are a favorite snack for big Northern Pike and if a couple got picked off, there may have been even more!

Mergansers feed on fish and have serrated edges on their bills to grip prey.  They dive for food and will work in groups to trap small fish.  Several mergansers will form a semi-circle and push a school of baitfish into the bank where they become pinned.

Like Carrie & me, these ducks are only seasonal residents of Red Lake.  They migrate south to find ice free water in the wintertime.  That means these little guys will head south by this fall.

If you are wondering about the post title, it is a reference to what a group of baby ducks might be called.  Here’s a fun website where you can find out what groups of babies are called for different kinds of animals – http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/about/faqs/animals/names.htm#birds.  It might be Carrie’s new favorite.  I bet there are a few you have never heard of!


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