Wood Duck Neighbors

Siting date: March 13, 2022

Our friend and neighbor Jon came over around Valentines Day to clean out the Wood Duck box he maintains behind our house. If you are a snarking English major like me you are probably asking is that a wooden box for any kind of duck? No it’s a wooden nesting box for Wood Ducks. We haven’t seen a lot of activity this year but on the last day of March a mating pair checked out the accommodations.

I saw them and immediately grabbed my Sony A6600 with the Tamron 18-300 zoom lens attached; it was made for this type of photo. I had to shoot through a window to keep from scaring them away. Even behind the window they can see me.

Wood duck mating pair checking out the neighborhood.

She wants a better look so peels around the branch.

Wood duck mating pair checking out the neighborhood.

They conferred and figured it was safe so he looked carefully at the nesting box.

Wood duck mating pair checking out the neighborhood.

They were pretty wary and it took them a while to make their move. I was slow on the draw so didn’t get the entire series I wanted of the female flying into the box. But she flew straight in.

Female Wood Duck heading into the nesting box to lay an egg.

At this stage the female enters the nesting box each morning for about an hour to lay an egg. After a couple of weeks, she stays in the box day and night to incubate the eggs. I’ve never seen the chicks leave the box but I have seen videos Jon has shared. Someday I hope to be at the right place and time. Mom is on the ground chirping encouragement and the ducklings climb up a ladder-like netting that Jon puts inside and jump down. It’s a bit tense; crows and other predators often gather round to pick off one or two on their way to the creek behind the tree house.

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