interesting info on Wood Ducks
- 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
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
> >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
> >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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