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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Thousands of Common Mergansers on Lake Minnetonka


Several thousand Common Mergansers were gathered on Lake Minnetonka mid-day Monday, on water soon to freeze. The birds are east of the Arcola bridge on County Road 15, about two miles west out of Wayzata. Bald Eagles were there as well. Me, too. With camera in hand I waited for an eagle to take a merganser, as eagles had been taking coots the day before on Wayzata Bay. Why else would eagles swing back and forth over the merganser flock, occasionally swooping low with talons extended? To fish, that’s why. I saw two of the eight eagles I watched come away with fish in their talons. I watched as the birds with fish were harassed by other eagles, birds hoping a fish would fall their way. Two Canada geese were present along with five Trumpeter Swans. I saw no coots or other waterfowl species. The coots the day before had made as much effort as they could to avoid the eagles. (See earlier postings.) The mergansers had no obvious reaction to the eagles, no matter how close.




Credit for the grebe photo belongs to rehab center

This morning's birding column in the Variety section of the StarTribune included a photo of the juvenile Pied-billed Grebe that was the focus of my comments. I mistakenly received credit for the photo. It was taken by staff at the Wildlife Rehab Center of Minnesota. I apologize for the error.

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