Best viewed large

2nd Place in the Spring Beginnings Challenge in the Pacific Northwest Photography & Art Group

2nd Place in the Swans, Gees and Ducks Challenge in The World As We See It , or as we missed it Group

2nd Place in the New Begins Challenge in the Breathtaking Animals & Plants Group

3rd Place in the Your Best Duck Picture Challenge in the Amazing Wildlife Group

Featured in “Americas ~ Rural, Urban, Wild, Free” October 2009
Featured in “The Great Outdoors” May 2010
Featured in “Wild Nature Photography & Writing” January 2011
Featured in “Canadiana” January 2011
Featured in “Closeups in Nature” May 2011
Featured in “The World As We See It, or as we missed it” June 2011
Featured in “Featured For A Challenge” September 2011
Featured in “Alphabet Soup” January 2013
Featured in “Pacific Northwest Photography” January 2013

A mother Common Merganser with two of her ducklings on her back getting a free ride and eleven more following behind – and, believe it not, there is a fourteenth following just out of picture!
Common Mergansers are fish-eaters and have serrated edges to their bills to assist in gripping their prey. Along with other species of Mergansers, they are often called “sawbills” . They also eat mussels and shrimps; and the young birds mainly eat aquatic insects.
I photographed this family for a couple of hours at French Creek, Vancouver Island BC and it was amusing to watch the antics of the duckings who made frequent attempts to climb on to their mother’s back, whilst on the ocean and also when they were resting on the seashore. Several times whilst on the ocean mother would dive under to get them off her back only to find that as soon as she resurfaced they would attempt to climb back on again!
The ducklings would also swim around on their own for food but never too far away from mum to whom they would swiftly return if there was any threat of danger – such as a Bald Eagle that was flying past looking for an easy lunch!

Canon 20D
1/1000sec f8 ISO 200

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have enjoyed viewing my images. Please DO NOT copy or pin my images to ANY other site such as Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr.

View Full Profile


  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrentonover 5 years ago

    Wow, what a feathery load mom has. Awesome capture. Love it.

  • Thank you very much Ann, appreciate your comments!

    – Martin Smart

  • redladyart
    redladyartover 5 years ago

    What a great natural wonder you’ve captured here! I haven’t heard of a Common Merganser. They have beautiful coloring.

  • Thanks so much for the compliment Sharon!

    – Martin Smart

  • Trish Meyer
    Trish Meyerover 5 years ago

    Beautiful image Martin. A lovely narrative too, what a great experience for you.

  • Much appreciate your comments Baynanno1, thank you!

    – Martin Smart

  • David Lewins
    David Lewinsover 5 years ago

    Certainly has the Ahhhhhhh factor Martin and a great explanation of their antics.

  • Thanks very much for your comments David, they were fun to photograph!

    – Martin Smart

  • main1
    main1over 5 years ago

    Awesome!!! I love these ducks!!

  • Thanks very much Marleia!

    – Martin Smart

  • tkrosevear
    tkrosevearover 5 years ago

    what an absolutely precious capture Martin, love the narrative too ;) xoxox TK ♥

  • Thanks so much for your commentsTammy!

    – Martin Smart

  • Bunny Clarke
    Bunny Clarkeover 5 years ago

    What a wonderful capture. Adorable. She has quite a brood. :o) Excellent find and catch.

  • Much appreciate your comments Bunny, thank you!

    – Martin Smart

  • niki78
    niki78over 5 years ago

    great capture and cute.

  • Thank you very much niki!

    – Martin Smart

  • CraigsMom
    CraigsMomover 5 years ago

    This is fabulous on two levels. The photography is fantastic, and it also rates very highly on the smile-o-meter!

  • Thanks so much for your kind comments CraigsMom, truly appreciated!

    – Martin Smart

  • snappyexposure
    snappyexposureover 5 years ago

    This is a beauty, such a special moment. great work.

  • Thank you Paula – they certainly kept me amused for a couple of hours!

    – Martin Smart

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.