Merganserlings aplenty


If merganserling isn’t a word, it should be: the chick of a merganser, as in duckling and gosling.

Sources differ as to the number of eggs laid by a Common Merganser, but when it comes to merganserlings that survive to follow mommy around the Lake, I usually see between four and twelve.

Yet, sometimes the number of mergaserlings is huge. I have seen nineteen, twenty-three, and yesterday, thirty-three. These cannot possibly be a single family. 

It seems that merganserlings are born followers. They will leave their own mother just to join a passing parade. Who knows if they ever find their way back to their own mother or not.

A family of Common Mergansers seen a week ago has a typical number of five merganserlings. Apart from their size, the chicks can be identified by the white bar just below the eye.

Seen yesterday was a parade of thirty-three merganserlings along with one nursemaid.


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6 Responses to Merganserlings aplenty

  1. birthe says:

    I saw the 30+ along John’s Walk in Nelson approximately 2 weeks ago. I thought it might be a merganser daycare

  2. Ed says:

    There is a group at Queens Bay comprised of one adult and twenty one babies. They have been around for a week or two and so far still twenty one. In previous summers the groups tends to shrink as the weeks go by. When they tire of swimming and fishing they huddle together in a feathery mass on the breakwater rocks.

  3. It may be that I am paying more attention but has anyone noticed that numbers of this wonderful fish eater are on the rise?

  4. Tina Wynecoop, north of Spokane says:

    My young granddaughter, Josie, came running into the house to announce she had just seen some “geeselings”.

    As one of your many appreciative “followers” Alistair, would we be called Alistairlings?
    Works for me!

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