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Wood Ducks

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  • Jim Armstrong
    I know Wood Ducks are not a great discovery, but I have had a mini- flock of about ten of them in my creek for the past month or so, the first time I ve seen
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 7, 2007
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      I know Wood Ducks are not a great discovery, but I have had a mini-
      flock of about ten of them in my creek for the past month or so, the
      first time I've seen them there in 35 years, more often seeing signs
      of muskrat, otter or raccoon.
      I had a hard time identifying them because when I would go out for the
      mail or paper, I would startle and flush them, startling and nearly
      flushing me; they would go out of sight so quickly, I couldn't get a
      good look. On clear mornings, they would disappear behind the trees
      and then off into the distance; on foggy mornings, they would only go
      a couple of turns up the creek. Of course, when I would sneak up,
      they wouldn't be there.
      George finally ID'ed them one morning and I've been getting better
      looks recently. If you're out Burris Lane, take a look from the county
      bridge about a 1/4 mile from East Road or from my bridge another 100
      yards on the north side.
    • Elaine Lindelef
      ... I ve probably been seeing the same group, and with the same problem of flushing them before I saw them. Until I got a shot with my camera
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 8, 2007
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        >1. Wood Ducks
        > Posted by: "Jim Armstrong" jimarm@... jarlyus
        > Date: Wed Feb 7, 2007 8:48 am ((PST))
        >
        >I know Wood Ducks are not a great discovery, but I have had a mini-
        >flock of about ten of them in my creek for the past month or so, the
        >first time I've seen them there in 35 years, more often seeing signs
        >of muskrat, otter or raccoon.
        >I had a hard time identifying them because when I would go out for the
        >mail or paper, I would startle and flush them, startling and nearly
        >flushing me; they would go out of sight so quickly, I couldn't get a
        >good look. On clear mornings, they would disappear behind the trees
        >and then off into the distance; on foggy mornings, they would only go
        >a couple of turns up the creek. Of course, when I would sneak up,
        >they wouldn't be there.
        >George finally ID'ed them one morning and I've been getting better
        >looks recently. If you're out Burris Lane, take a look from the county
        >bridge about a 1/4 mile from East Road or from my bridge another 100
        >yards on the north side.
        >

        I've probably been seeing the same group, and with the same problem
        of flushing them before I saw them. Until I got a shot with my camera
        (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Mendobirds/photos/view/4293?b=4) ,
        I couldn't ID them. This morning there were maybe ten swimming
        together and calling out to each other in the Russian River just
        south of Jones Creek (a bit north of Burris Lane). Either they're
        getting less spooky or I'm getting stealthier.

        Elaine Lindelef
      • Kate Marianchild
        Do you know that wood ducks are also known as acorn ducks ? When acorns are plentiful (fall and winter) they are the most important part of the wood duck
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 8, 2007
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          Do you know that wood ducks are also known as "acorn ducks"? When
          acorns are plentiful (fall and winter) they are the most important part
          of the wood duck diet. The rest of the year they feed on grains, seeds,
          mulberries, and wild grape.

          Here's some more fascinating information I found (see items in bold):

          The Pacific population winters in Mexico except for the small Pacific
          coast population that winters along waterways in southern hardwoods and
          in central California (is Ukiah area central California?). Prefer
          quiet undisturbed woodlands, creeks, rivers, floodplains, lakes,
          swamps; usually associated with deciduous woods, and beaver ponds.

          Nesting occurs anywhere from March to July. The female selects the
          nest cavity in a tree, usually 30 feet above the ground, although
          nests can be found as low as 2 feet and as high as 65 feet and are
          often far from water.

          Drakes follow their mates to their former breeding areas. Wood ducks
          have a phenomenal ability to return to the same breeding area year
          after year. Occasionally nests are found with 30 - 50 eggs laid by
          several females. These may be abandoned, though if successfully
          brooded can increase production. Unmated drakes return to their natal
          area.

          The hen broods her young 24 hours before she calls them from the nest
          site. They respond with peeping calls and immediately begin to spring
          upward towards the nest entrance where they pause momentarily before
          springing outward to the water or land, in some cases over 60 feet
          below. Amazingly, they land unhurt. If on land, the clutch is
          immediately led to water which may take several hours.

          As perching ducks (Tribe Cairinini) the feet are adapted for perching,
          with sharp claws, as well as webbed for swimming. Flight swift and
          direct. Wings proportionately broader than those of other ducks,
          making them adept at twisting and turning as they adroitly thread
          their way through branches of trees.

          This information brought to you by Fifty Species Challenge.



          On Feb 8, 2007, at 8:06 AM, Elaine Lindelef wrote:

          > >1. Wood Ducks
          > > Posted by: "Jim Armstrong" jimarm@... jarlyus
          > > Date: Wed Feb 7, 2007 8:48 am ((PST))
          > >
          > >I know Wood Ducks are not a great discovery, but I have had a mini-
          > >flock of about ten of them in my creek for the past month or so, the
          > >first time I've seen them there in 35 years, more often seeing signs
          > >of muskrat, otter or raccoon.
          > >I had a hard time identifying them because when I would go out for
          > the
          > >mail or paper, I would startle and flush them, startling and nearly
          > >flushing me; they would go out of sight so quickly, I couldn't get a
          > >good look. On clear mornings, they would disappear behind the trees
          > >and then off into the distance; on foggy mornings, they would only go
          > >a couple of turns up the creek. Of course, when I would sneak up,
          > >they wouldn't be there.
          > >George finally ID'ed them one morning and I've been getting better
          > >looks recently. If you're out Burris Lane, take a look from the
          > county
          > >bridge about a 1/4 mile from East Road or from my bridge another 100
          > >yards on the north side.
          > >
          >
          > I've probably been seeing the same group, and with the same problem
          > of flushing them before I saw them. Until I got a shot with my camera
          > (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Mendobirds/photos/view/4293?b=4) ,
          > I couldn't ID them. This morning there were maybe ten swimming
          > together and calling out to each other in the Russian River just
          > south of Jones Creek (a bit north of Burris Lane). Either they're
          > getting less spooky or I'm getting stealthier.
          >
          > Elaine Lindelef
          >
          >
          >

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