That’s “daffy duck-displays” not “Daffy Duck displays!” For years I’ve been trying to capture the comic breeding displays of the Hooded Mergansers and Common Goldeneyes. Mostly unsuccessful in years past, this spring I did have a modicum of success. When several males are vying for one female, the action gets intense. Male Goldeneyes extend their necks vertically then throw their head violently backwards at the same time as their tail end comes up (so far that their feet actually come out of the water!) and bleat a cute toy-like buzz [See video below].

Hooded Mergansers have a similar display but with a Vegas-worthy addition—they fan their black and white head feathers into an out-of-proportion crest. The Hooded Merg pictured below is only at “half mast” …but check out the video to see the full-on craziness of a bunch of sex-addled males along the St. Louis River in late March.

The video shows the displays better than the stills. To see the full-sized video go to http://www.vimeo.com/23114536

Stills and Video with the Canon 7D, Canon 400mm f5.6, AT-897 shotgun microphone, Gitzo tripod.

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