Most female birds are less colorful than their male counterparts, but still very beautiful. This female Wood Duck was one of four that visited our neighbor’s pond where Ted has been photographing from his blind a few days each week. The ducks usually arrive around 5:30am and stay for a few hours. During this time, the female(s) who are laying eggs will enter the nest box and emerge about 30 minutes later. When all of the eggs have been laid, the female will begin a month-long incubation, leaving for short periods each day to eat.
Click on the image to see a larger photo. ©2015 Ted Thousand
This male Wood Duck and his mate have made their home on a pond about a mile from ours. Ted put a blind on our neighbor’s property and waited for the pair to arrive. The female spent about an hour in the nest box that has an opening 5-6 feet above the surface of the water, while the male floated watch below. A female can have 2 broods each year and may lay as many as 16 eggs of her own – one each day – before she begins to incubate them all together. Egg dumping may also occur when an unknown female enters the nest and lays her eggs among the others. As many as 29 eggs have been recorded in one nest. As the ducklings hatch they climb up the inside of their nest box, or tree cavity, using sharp claws that will enable them to perch in trees once they can fly to limbs high above the ground.
Photo by Ted Thousand ©2015. Click on the image for a larger version.