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Vibrantly-patterned ducks fly south for the cold months and fish along Johnson Creek.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAZ ZYVATKAUSKAS - A male hooded merganser eats a crawdad while swimming in Johnson Creek. A pair of "hooded" ducks have been enjoying the relatively warmer temperatures in Gresham as they swim in the unfrozen Johnson Creek around Main City Park.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAZ ZYVATKAUSKAS - A pair of hooded mergansers can be seen swimming around Main City Park in Gresham. The hooded mergansers are notable for their striking appearance, and both sexes have crests they can raise or lower. Females have reddish-brown coloring around the back of the head. Males, upon maturation, have a striking black head with a white crest, white breast, black back and striped patterning.

Mergansers are the only ducks that specialize in eating fish. They will swim underwater and use long, slender bills with serrated edges to catch and hold their prey.

The ones in Gresham made their way to town south from Canada as the temperatures turned, enjoying the ice-free waters so they can continue to fish. Though they can be found across Oregon, hooded mergansers are somewhat uncommon to spot.


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