Before the water freezes watch for small rafts of Hooded mergansers on tree lined lakes and ponds around your home. The smallest of the three “saw bills” or Mergansers, a family of thin billed, diving ducks can be found in fresh, brackish, bay or even ocean water. The hooded merganser is a jewel of a bird, compact in the water, with a mohawk of feathers hanging off its head. Ducks court in the winter and males get into their finery this time of year. Vying for attention, small rafts of these ducks can be seen splashing, preening, and chasing. Watch the ornate males raise their combs revealing the full moon disc of bright white feathers in their crest.