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With the Hoodies

Despite the chilly winds and persistent 40-degree days here in D.C., there is no doubt that Spring is here. The cherry blossoms are just popping, daffodils fill yards with their swaying splendor, and — you guessed it — all the birds are singing.

As a regular visitor to Huntley Meadows Park, there is an endless source of wonder about how different birds get their “Spring thing on”  — meant in all the ways that you could interpret that.   The bluebirds are softly warbling, making nests in dead trees. The Carolina wren is throwing its head back and chortling its “Teakettle! Teakettle! Teakettle!” opera to the forest. Canada geese are honking and ceaselessly fighting over territory. And, the hooded merganser…

Well, this you just have to see. This beautiful black and white headed duck with a golden eye and deep whiskey colored breast feathers does this beak-to-breast-throw-the-head-back-and-grunt dance for his ladies. For the last couple of weekends, the male hooded merganser at Huntley Meadows as been the rockstar of every weekend bird photographer’s dream. It’s pretty funny actually — everyone is very serious and then when our guy starts his water strutting, the shutters click for seconds on end to capture it all.

For a taste of this wonder of Spring, check out this amazing video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Merganser/media-browser/478457.