Deep diver on Helsinki’s shores

Goosander © Eero Haapanen

The large and robust goosander (Mergus merganser) is one of the most common waterfowl seen on the shores of Helsinki, particularly in the spring and autumn. That is when flocks of goosanders stop at the coast during their migration to wait for inland water bodies to melt. Goosanders nest in small numbers all around Finland by the shores of large, rugged water bodies. The breeding population of Helsinki is not very large, only reaching double digits.

In the middle of summer, goosanders are rarely, if ever, seen in large numbers. Goosanders nest not only in crevices among the rocks, but also in nest boxes, under buildings and in attics. On the Pihlajasaari islands, goosanders can be found nesting in bird houses hung high on pine trees as early as April. The chicks jump down to the ground soon after hatching. Led by their mother, they immediately start fishing for their own food. The goosanders of Pihlajasaari fish on the shallow, sheltered shores of the lagoon and the sound between the main islands.