Look around you. If you’ve got the eyes to see it, the world around us is a zoo without plaques, cages, or churros. Even within the boundaries of large cities, animals still manage to carve out a living. While some maintain and adapt their natural foraging and nesting tactics to the urban landscape, others learn entirely new skills to scrape by, like pan-handling, or accounting. All it takes to appreciate their presence in our world is a little patience, knowledge, a can of mace, and a good pair of binoculars.
Today on the Sketcharoo, we feature one of these fascinating critters: the Hooded Merganser. The Hooded Merganser is a diving duck whose most notable feature is a crest of feathers that can be extended above its head, giving it that distinctive “just back from a Kid n Play concert” look. Its courtship displays include head-pumping and ritualized drinking, similar to the displays of the common North American fratboy. During such displays, the male periodically whips its head backwards and lets out a call that I can only suspect translates thusly: