It is easy to become mesmerized by the wood duck. They are a gorgeous duck with intricate plumage. The male has iridescent chestnut and green coloring, a crested head, bold markings and ornate patterns on almost every feather. The female, although not as flashy, has warm brown plumage with a grayer, slightly crested head. A striking white teardrop surrounds the eyes.
these three photos are from “The Cornell Lab.”
They can be found on shallow lakes and ponds, often swimming near the edges among emerging vegetation or overhanging branches.
The wood ducks nesting is legendary, as they nest in tree cavities near woodlands and ponds. They are the only waterfowl that can produce two broods in one year. The male and female pair up in January so once they reach their breeding ground, they are already “a couple.” Of course, anyone who has watched a nature show on the wood duck knows that the little chicks, once ready to leave the nest, must drop from the tree cavity to hopefully, a cushy landing. Chicks have been known to drop from as high as 50 feet without injury. Yikes!
I have 20-plus wood ducks on my pond. They are mostly males, with three females. Did those other males not find mates this season? Whatever the case, they seem to be a wonderfully tight knit community that come and go at the same time.
I am lucky that just beyond the pond, I have a large willow (overhanging branches). and the small-ish forest is just a short walk up an incline from the pond.
Since the vegetation has been growing with each warm day, I have noticed the ducks spending more time around the edges of the pond, finding cover to take a rest. They will also converge in the growing meadow grasses between the pond and forest.
It’s truly a delight to look out on a sunny day, water rippling and shining, and seeing the ducks gliding through the water. Next…the chicks trailing behind the parents. Fingers crossed.
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