Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wood Duck

Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are such striking birds that I still remember seeing my first one, nearly 40 years ago at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in upstate New York. Living in Kalamazoo, I'm fortunate to see them frequently when canoeing on Portage Creek.

Over-hunting and habitat destruction nearly destroyed Wood Duck populations a century ago. [See USDA report pdf] Protection began with Migratory Bird Treaty in 1916 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Hunting regulations and the development of duck boxes allowed the population to rebound. In Michigan, they are now reasonably common.

This is the time of year when many Michigan Wood Ducks migrate south.

Wood Ducks tend to more skittish than, say, Mallards, so I rarely get decent photos in the wild. The bird pictured above was at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

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