Posts tagged: wood ducks
WATERFOWLING — Some North Idaho hunter cried fowl when their duck hunting season opened a week later than usual, giving wood ducks and teal another week to get out of the area unscathed.
However, I found a wood duck bonanza today Wednesday while waterfowl hunting and tourng Ducks Unlimited wetland conservation projects near the Tri Cities.
Hundreds of wood ducks poured in to the Wallula Unit habitat area at the mouth of the Walla Walla River. I'm talking about a flight of perhaps 500 woodies that dropped into the area in just a few minutes.
Even the DU habitat biologist I was with said it was an outstanding sight to behold.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Area birdwatcher Ron Dexter, who lives in the Mount Spokane foothills, has the welcome mat out for colorful migrants that return each year for his hospitality. Ron posted this delightful update this morning:
Each spring, we look forward to the arrival of Wood Ducks on our ponds. The first pair arrived about 10 days ago, then a few more every couple days. Yesterday, I counted 17. They are very flighty and try to sneak in to our duck feeding area twice a day. Our regular pond birds are Mallards of course. We fed approximately 40 through the winter. We have 4 domestic ducks. A spring fed water supply keeps an open space in the ice for them to bathe, etc. Two pair of Canada Geese arrived about 2 weeks ago to fight over the nesting platforms.
The Wood Ducks, however are our favorites. They checkout all of the nest boxes and eventually each will lay 10 or 11 eggs. Sometimes two will lay eggs in the same box. I have counted as many as 22 eggs in one box. 19 of those were hatched by one Wood Duck. The eggs all hatch within a 24 hr period and when the coast is clear she calls the kids out of the nest box. Believe it or not, they jump to the water or ground below no matter the distance. They actually spread their arms and legs like a sky diver and bounce like a cork when they hit the ground. Within a few hours, mama duck takes the young on a quarter mile hike through tall grasses down to the creek.
Last year one mama got quite used to us and kept her young on the pond for 2 weeks which we throughlly enjoyed. She hides them in the cattails most of the time, but the brave or naughty ones dart our and around the pond looking for something to eat. Ahhhh, spring is arriving
WATERFOWL — She’s back! A wood duck once again is bringing the “White Christmas” spirit to Riverfront park.
The mystery has been solved about the wood duck bringing a white Christmas spirit to Riverfront Park.
Some speculated it was an albino, others suggested the duck with the pink eye rings was a leucistic bird in disguise.
The bird has been feeding among the mallards for several weeks in the Spokane River between the Opera House and Carousel. Local birder Buck Domitrovich photographed what likely was the same bird last year at the park (left).
Wild wood ducks normally migrate away from the Spokane-North Idaho area around mid-October. Most birders agreed this woodie might be the product of captive breeding, but nobody seemed to know for sure — until local birding expert and breeder Dennis Dahlke chimed in.
“This white duck is a captive bred female wood duck,” he said. “She is not albino, just a color variation. Belonged to a friend of ours. Coyotes helped her escape when they killed most of the other ducks in that pen last winter.”
The woody is smaller than the mallards she paddles around with, but she holds her own — she's not afraid to take after bigger birds that get in her way.
Freak show: One birder emailed me with an interesting observation about the way many of us view wildlife: “It's interesting to me that human freaks freak us out but other animal freaks turn us on,” she said.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — George Orr, the always quotable Washington Wildlife Commissioner from Spokane, announced today that he will be leaving the commission when his term expires next year.
Orr, a retired fireman and former state legislator, made the announcement during a commission conference all meeting called for other matters.
“I told the commission today that I’m not going to reenlist,” Orr said. “I’ve served God and country pretty handily since 1960: went into the military, served on school boards, union offices, PTA and elected and appointed offices around the state. Now it’s time to spend time with my wife and good buddy, and perhaps spoil my grandchildren a little more.
“Something else might come around later, but for now I’m not reenlisting.”
Orr’s announcement came four days after Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed eliminating the wildlife commission or making it merely an advisory group instead of a policy-making panel responsible for hiring and firing the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department director.