This colorful male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) was standing tall yesterday as he kept watch over a nesting box at Huntley Meadows Park. I kept watch for a while myself, hoping to photograph a female entering or exiting the box, but came up empty-handed.
It’s breeding time and all of the animals and birds seem to be looking for mates and preparing for the arrival of babies. At least some of the Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks use the nesting boxes at various locations throughout the park. Tree Swallows also use nesting boxes, although those boxes are much smaller than the ones used by the ducks.
I don’t know if this male Wood Duck is guarding eggs that have already been laid in the box or is merely helping to reserve the box for use by his partner. In the past I have spent extended periods of time waiting for the arrival and departure of female ducks at nesting boxes. I find it amazing that the females are able to arrest their forward momentum and enter the box through a hole that is a tight fit.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.