Wood Duck Wednesday

Wood Ducks by Third Son

Wood Ducks by Third Son

The All About Birds listing for Aix sponsa (wood duck) says in part:

The Wood Duck is one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. These birds live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.

Wood Ducks thrive in bottomland forests, swamps, freshwater marshes, and beaver ponds. They are also common along streams of all sizes, from creeks to rivers, and the sheer extent of these make them an important habitat. Wood Ducks seem to fare best when open water alternates with 50–75% vegetative cover that the ducks can hide and forage in.

A few wood duck facts:

  • Natural cavities for nesting are scarce, and the Wood Duck readily uses nest boxes provided for it. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females. (click for info about building a nest box)
  • The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times up to 2 km (1.2 mi) away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 89 m (290 ft) without injury.
  • Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.

More including wood duck calls at All About Birds.

Third Son took this yesterday – see more in his Birds 2020 gallery & definitely do yourself a favor and have a look at his most popular pics!

Many (many) more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Black (duck) Friday

black-duck

Duck Silhouette, photo by diane charvat

This is a shout-out to everyone who’s struggling with being alone or simply for the bare necessities of life, and to those who are helping to ease their burden. I was so heartened by stories of friends serving meals, inviting lonely friends, and in general reaching out over the Thanksgiving holiday.

We’re all a family. Every one of us, every day.

View Diane’s photo bigger and see more in her Birds slideshow.

Happy Mother’s Day, Michigan Mommas

Mother and her ducklings

Mother and her ducklings, photo by Brent Looyenga

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the hardworking Michigan mommas out there!

View Brent’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Misc slideshow.

PS: I guess this qualifies as another entry in the ever-expanding Michigan in Pictures Duckie Project.

Let Sleeping Ducks Lie…

Sleeping Duck

Sleeping Duck, photo by Matt

Is Black Friday over yet? Hope you’re staying safe and getting deals (or staying safe & staying home)!

View Matt’s photo background big  and see more in his slideshow.

If you’re up for more duck-based fun, check out the Michigan in Pictures Duckie Project!

Rising Duck

Rising Duck

Rising Duck, photo by spang1mw

It’s been too long since a photo was added to the Michigan in Pictures Duckie Project.

View Matt’s photo background big and see more in his slideshow.

Lady ducks, take notice (of the Mallard)

Lady ducks take notice

Lady ducks take notice, photo by R.J.E.

It’s been too long since I’ve added to the Michigan in Pictures Duckie Gallery. The All about Birds entry for Mallard Anas platyrhynchos explains:

Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads, and wide, flat bills. Like many “dabbling ducks” the body is long and the tail rides high out of the water, giving a blunt shape. In flight their wings are broad and set back toward the rear.

Male Mallards have a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill. The gray body is sandwiched between a brown breast and black rear. Females and juveniles are mottled brown with orange-and-brown bills. Both sexes have a white-bordered, blue “speculum” patch in the wing.

Mallards are “dabbling ducks”—they feed in the water by tipping forward and grazing on underwater plants. They almost never dive. They can be very tame ducks especially in city ponds, and often group together with other Mallards and other species of dabbling ducks.

Read on for more including photos and some fun facts:

  • The Mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds (everything except the Muscovy Duck).
  • Mallard pairs are generally monogamous, but paired males pursue females other than their mates. So-called “extra-pair copulations” are common among birds and in many species are consensual, but male Mallards often force these copulations, with several males chasing a single female and then mating with her.
  • Mallard pairs form long before the spring breeding season. Pairing takes place in the fall, but courtship can be seen all winter. Only the female incubates the eggs and takes care of the ducklings.
  • The standard duck’s quack is the sound of a female Mallard. Males don’t quack; they make a quieter, rasping sound.
  • Mallards, like other ducks, shed all their flight feathers at the end of the breeding season and are flightless for 3–4 weeks. They are secretive during this vulnerable time, and their body feathers molt into a concealing “eclipse” plumage that can make them hard to identify.
  • The oldest known Mallard lived to be at least 27 years 7 months old.

Check this photo out bigger and in R.J.E.’s slideshow.

God’s Duck

SQUASH DUCK

SQUASH DUCK, photo by marsha*morningstar

Here’s the latest in the always popular Michigan in Pictures Duckie Series.

Marsha writes:

Seriously, untouched—-exactly how it grew and the markings are natural…just a little saturation of color and edging but this is really Gods duck.

See it bigger and in Marsha’s slideshow.

Return of the Duckies: Ann Arbor Summertime 2009

Ann Arbor Summertime 2009

Ann Arbor Summertime 2009, photo by RichardD72.

Check this out bigger in Richard’s Summertime slideshow and remember that Michigan in Pictures is your source for Michigan duckie photos – accept no substitutes!

Exposure.Detroit opening: all the cool duckies will be there

Rubber-Duckies by nichpr

Rubber-Duckies, photo by nichpr

This photo is part of Paul’s Artful set (slideshow). It’s also part of my developing collection of Michigan duck-related phoptography, but the less said about that, the better!

The Exposure.Detroit May Exhibit Opening Party takes place this Friday (May 16) from 7pm – 10pm at the Bean & Leaf Cafe in Royal Oak. The show features five photographers: Paul, Eric, Amy, Nicole and Ross and you can learn more about Exposure.Detroit and the upcoming exhibit from the Exposure.Detroit group on Flickr.

Is this a Paddle, Raft, Plump, Team, Brace or Dopping of Ducks?

Swarm!

Swarm!, photo by OtisDude.

OtisDude writes:

I was shooting some duck pictures today when all the sudden something startled all the ducks. Calm to chaos in less than a second. I managed to snap off 4-5 pics before I got a little panicked and got out of the way.

We’ve all heard of the many Inuit names for snow. In case anyone was wondering, ducks are pretty much the same. There’s quite a collection of names for a group of ducks including a paddling of ducks or a raft of ducks (when floating along), a plump or team of ducks (in flight overhead), a brace of ducks (post hunting I believe) or a dopping of ducks (when diving). More ducks on Michigan in Pictures.

None of these seemed quite right but fortunately there’s also a flush of ducks, which I’m going to assume covers exactly this scenario.