I left my digital camera at work so all the cute photos I got of hatching mergansers are sitting safely in the digital camera on my desk (doh). I did remeber to bring home the video camera and Non Birding Bill was able to capture a still of the young mergansers:
Cute, freshly hatched hooded merganser chicks...that smell like stinky fish.
What was interesting was that this morning when I went to check the box, I heard some rustling and worried the hen would bolt I froze. I suddenly heard low, gutteral sounds. I recognized it from all the birding cds we listen to in the store. It was the hen, and I had read somewhere that hen ducks will make noise right before and during hatching so the chicks will recognize the call. When the female leaves the box, she will make the sound in the water to get the chicks to follow.
I checked the box at 11am and found two hatched and two more eggs with holes. Further reading revealed that when hooded merganser eggs hatch, the whole clutch usually hatches within four hours. The above photo was taken at about 2:30pm, towards the end of the process.
More photos will be posted tomorrow as well as a tasteless baby chickadee one liner.