Wood duck hen

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I took this photograph while she was watching her little ones swim and nibble along the shore on the south side of the Lost Lagoon. For a few seconds, she was close and still and not in the shadows.

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13 Comments

  1. So beautiful! I love Wood Ducks!

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    1. Such well painted feathers! 🙂

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  2. Great photograph! You even captured the beads of water on her head!

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    1. Thanks :-). Duck jewelry!

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  3. She’s very pretty, isn’t she, in her understated way? Was she hard to approach? I don’t think I”ve ever seen a female with her babies, although every once in awhile I’ll see a male. They are quite reclusive, here.

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    1. Oh yes! I very much like the female Wood Duck’s mostly brown feathers with little white dots, touches of shimmering colour and her dramatic but simple white eyeliner.

      The Wood Ducks at the Lost Lagoon don’t get as close to humans as Mallards, but each time I go, there are some swimming within 12 feet or perched on a log across the stream that leaves the lagoon. People are discouraged from feeding wildlife, but they do anyway. Wood Ducks seem to like bread.

      This was my first year “birding”. I noticed that Mallard ducklings, which I see often, will come within a foot of me, wait a few seconds for food, then swim or walk away. The mother stays 2 or 3 feet away and watches her ducklings with neck stretched tall so that she almost looks like a goose. I was surprised that the Wood Duck ducklings and mother did the same, with the comfort distance increased by about a foot. The mother stayed mostly still at about 4 or 5 feet while the ducklings swam along the shore quite quickly, pecking and swimming. The mother and ducklings appeared in front of me while I was photographing some Mallards preening. They even came on shore for a while. It was pretty cool :-).

      The lagoon is not a lagoon but an artificial freshwater lake. It was a lagoon at the beginning of the 20th century. But then some stuff happened.

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      1. I love how you worded that, “some stuff happened”~ an eloquent summation of human impact! Or perhaps geological; sometimes that can be some pretty dramatic stuff too.
        That is an interesting observation about the ducks. It confirms the sense I had that Wood Ducks are more reticent than Mallards are. I wonder why some species are more accepting of us while others are more standoffish.

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        1. Pardon my eloquence :-D. It used to be a mud flat connected to the sea (at Coal Harbour), which was sometimes flooded and sometimes dry. Then the city decided to build a major road between the mud flat and the harbour. Two proposals were made for repurposing the mud flat – a sports and recreation field or a lake. Human impact.

          Hmm… I suppose standoffishness is mostly due to fear. I’m thinking of the birds on the Galapagos Islands, who aren’t wary of humans because they don’t have any historical predators. Personality likely plays a role too – some species are more curious and friendly while others like to keep their distance. Wood Ducks are a bit smaller than Mallards. A few days ago, I saw a female Mallard quack a male Wood Duck off a rock. I’m not sure what that was about. Maybe she was in a mood and that was her favourite rock.

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          1. I’m going to be chucking over that female Mallard all day now. My Dad passed away last Sunday and my brother and I are trying to process that and do all the things you are supposed to do. I’m glad I’ll have that duck lurking in my thoughts to lighten things up. Thank you for that 🙂

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            1. Oh, Melissa. My heart goes out to you and your family as you come to terms with your deep loss. I wish you well. I’m glad that ducks can still make you smile :-). I have a picture. It is a bit fuzzy but the Wood Duck is clearly startled. I will post it shortly. Hugs, Myriam.

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            2. Myriam, thank you so much~ you have a wonderful way with words and I do indeed feel hugged and comforted. Myriam is a beautiful name. I’ll look forward to the startled Wood Duck!

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            3. I’m glad my words managed to send a hug through the interwebs. I figured a non-anonymous hug would be a bit sweeter :-).

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