The male Wood Duck is arguably the most beautiful of America’s water fowl and certainly ranks among the most interesting. The stunning scarlet circle around the eyes against the glimmering green crown make this dazzling fellow quite the dapper duck. A brilliant white stripe from the eye leading back to the crest add an even more distinctive decoration to this gorgeous guy. Iridescent wings of blues and greens trimmed in white make him equally irresistible in flight.
Like in most bird species the female Wood Duck is much more subdued in her appearance. She does however have a few impressive splashes of color to accessorize her marbled brownish grey plumage. A teardrop shaped patch of bright white feathers surrounding her eyes give her a bit of bling, but it is the blue, teal and purple feathers that trim her wings in iridescence in the right light that truly make her a stand out among female fowl.
Although the parents march to the beat of their own drum, it is the baby Wood Duck that is the star of the show. Similar in appearance to all baby ducks it is their athletic ability that make them stand out. Unlike other ducks that nest on the ground, Wood Ducks prefer to hatch their clutch of about a dozen white eggs high off the ground in nesting boxes or hidden cavities in the trees.
So while other ducklings simply follow their mothers from the nest to the pond, the brave little wood ducks must first get to the ground. Still covered in soft fuzzy down with no ability to fly, these tiny daredevils plunge from the nest in a great leap of faith. Due to their lack of any substantial weight these amazing acrobats land on the ground with a soft thump and happily waddle to water.
It is a joy to watch these beautiful birds throughout the Mountain Valley Living territory during the late Spring and Summer months. Several of our neighbors living near the waterways that Wood Ducks inhabit build nesting boxes to attract them to the most advantageous viewing spots.
Spend a few hours this year on the banks of your favorite body of water relaxing and watching the wondrous Wood Duck.