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Wood Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, American Coot and Others

January 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Wood Duck relocated from the Frog Pond to the Dingle when the Frog Pond froze over. The south end of the North-west Arm doesn't freeze so dabbling ducks can forage freely around the reefs and shallows at low tide and on the grass at high tide. Unfortunately, the dabblers are driven back into the ocean when loose dogs or children chase them off the Dingle grass. This is the tamest Wood Duck I've ever had the experience to meet.

The Wood Duck is without doubt the most elegant of all the ducks displaying exquisite detail and colour. It exists with such beauty for no reason,... other than that it can.

The Wood Duck was headed the way of the Labrador Duck due to uncontrolled hunting and habitat destruction. Eventually it became protected and habitat began to be preserved. When I was in Winnipeg a Wood Duck recovery effort was underway with nest boxes being built over ponds and rivers all along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in both Canada and the United States.

The Pileated Woodpecker also uses these boxes and in an unusual display of cooperation Wood Ducks and Pileated Woodpeckers have been reported to co-nest, side by side in the same box, although the usual behaviour of the woodpecker is confrontation with any intruding species.

The following is courtesy of Wikipedia:

Conservation

The population of the wood duck was in serious decline in the late 19th century as a result of severe habitat loss and market hunting both for meat and plumage for the ladies' hat market in Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century, wood ducks had virtually disappeared from much of their former range. In response to the Migratory Bird Treaty established in 1916 and enactment of the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, wood duck populations began to recover slowly. By ending unregulated hunting and taking measures to protect remaining habitat, wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s. The development of the artificial nesting box in the 1930s gave an additional boost to wood duck production.[9]

Landowners as well as park and refuge managers can encourage wood ducks by building wood duck nest boxes near lakes, ponds, and streams. Fulda, Minnesota has adopted the wood duck as an unofficial mascot, and a large number of nest boxes can be found in the area.[citation needed]

Expanding North American beaver populations throughout the wood duck's range have also helped the population rebound as beavers create an ideal forested wetland habitat for wood ducks.[8]

The population of the wood duck has increased a great deal in the last several years. The increase has been due to the work of many people constructing wood duck boxes and conserving vital habitat for the wood ducks to breed. During the open waterfowl season, U.S. hunters have only been allowed to take two wood ducks per day in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. However, for the 2008–2009 season, the limit was raised to three. The wood duck limit remains at two in the Central Flyway and at seven in the Pacific Flyway. It is the second most commonly hunted duck in North America, after the mallard.[2]

 

Wood Duck

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Even the back of the Wood Duck is marvelously adorned with colour and presentation.

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At Sullivan's Pond there are at least 500 ducks of all types; Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon, Mallard, Black Duck and Hooded Merganser.

The American Coot is extremely hard to photograph well due to its all black presentation and dark red eyes, quite the contrast from the Wood Duck.

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The American Wigeon is present and always a welcome member of the pond.

American Wigeon

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An American Wigeon and Eurasion Wigeon were kind enough to allow side by side views, always a good teaching aid for beginners. With a depth of field of about three inches with my camera and lens combination making these comparisons work is tricky. In this case I focus on a spot about half way between the birds and then frame the image thus reducing fuzziness to a minimum.

Eurasian Wigeon and American Wigeon, Side by Side Comparisons

Eurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American Wigeon Eurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American Wigeon Eurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American WigeonEurasian and American Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon, Male

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