Wild Thing Wednesday is taking a leap of faith with hatchling wood ducks. We know that the adults are beautiful birds, especially the males with their elaborate green crest and bright red eyes, but today it is the hatchlings that take the show. Despite being waterfowl, wood ducks naturally nest in tree cavities, with the female spending all but one hour a day incubating the eggs. When the eggs hatch, the female cannot bring food to the ducklings in the nest, so she has to bring the young out to where they can forage. Young wood ducks hatch already equipped with strong claws that let them climb up to the top of their tree cavity, where they must then jump down to their mother on the ground. Some wood ducks have been observed making a jump of up to fifty feet and emerging unscathed. At Horicon Marsh, wood ducks are able to nest in natural cavities as well as wood duck nest boxes built and monitored by dedicated volunteers from the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and the Horicon Marsh Bird Club. Regular nest box monitoring not only gives these beautiful birds an extra leg up, but also gives us the chance to enjoy some fantastic photography courtesy of our volunteers.
Photo Credit: Jeff Bahls
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