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Red-breasted Mergansers

Posted on Jan 28, 2016

These Red-breasted Mergansers were enjoying some diving and feeding on another lovely January day as our temperatures have risen back to above-normal…and certainly a far more comfortable setting than the past two winters. Waters are opening up once again and snow is melting here in the Northeast. Their crazy “hair”, or shaggy crest, makes them a little easier to identify from a distance. Did you know they are the fastest duck ever recorded? They can zip by at incredible speeds passing 70, 80 or even 90MPH with their long, sleek body slicing directly through the air. Red-breasted Mergansers go so fast that they may be the fastest bird alive in terms of flight level speeds. The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet, and it is an example of a bird that uses a dive to attain its velocity. Even when you watch the Red-breasted Merganser going by it seems relatively slow, likely a function of how effortless and undramatic the flight is.

Red-breasted Merganser hens-5711

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator