25 January 2007

Found: Hooded Merganser with Identity Disorder

On a walk a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to see that the Common Goldeneyes have returned to Belmont Harbor. We first noticed them two falls ago, and it still astonishes us that some creatures find winter in Chicago to be perfectly comfortable. This year, though, we were especially struck by the presence of a solitary Hooded Merganser keeping the others company. Certainly, the Hooded Merganser has much in common with Common Goldeneyes--black-and-white color scheme, fishy diet, diving talents--but why isn't it hanging out with its own kind? Turns out, it was probably born in a Common Goldeneye nest. Is it such a stretch to imagine it THINKS it's a Common Goldeneye?
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