On June 2nd, 2016 at 6:48 AM, 6 wood ducklings leaped from their nest.
In case you missed it, here is a recording of the event:
We tracked every time the female left the nest and when she returned. Click below to discover her patterns while she incubated the nest.
Wood Duck Facts:
- Wood Ducks were almost extinct by the late 1800s and early 1900s due to the destruction of hardwood forests and hunting. Luckily, with the passage of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, their numbers began to recover, and they are now considered a Species of Least Concern.
- The Wood Duck's Scientific Name Aix sponsa translates to mean "Waterbird in Bridal Dress" because the male's feathers are so stunningly magnificent.
- Wood ducks are important because they indicate a healthy wetland ecosystem, on which we all depend.
About The Film: BACKYARD WILDERNESS
Wood ducks ducks have actually been nesting in our woods for years, and they served as a major inspiration for BACKYARD WILDERNESS, the 40-minute Giant Screen film and companion study guide we're currently producing, about the hidden wilderness that exists right in our own backyards!
Set in and around a typical suburban home and neighborhood wetland in the northeastern US, the film is an entertaining and poignant story that reveals the great web of life that surrounds and sustains us, but which we have forgotten how to see.
The cast of common but secretive creatures includes raccoons, deer, frogs, salamanders, coyotes and a variety of birds and insects. It also features Katie, a ten year old screen-obsessed girl who learns to see beyond the glow of her iPad to the wonders of nature around her.
BACKYARD WILDERNESS will be a stunning visual spectacle that rekindles our spirit with awe and a sense of connection to nature, revealing the treasures that await when we take the time to stop, look and listen.
Wood Duck Cam FAQs:
1. What will I see on the cam? Right now you will see the female incubating her eggs, which she does by sitting on them to keep them warm. She will reposition each egg at least once a day, to distribute the warmth evenly. An egg clutch is usually about 10-11 eggs, and the female will incubate for 28-32 days. So, all her eggs will hatch together in late May - early June 2016!
2. Where is this nest located? It is 50 feet up in the empty cavity of a large White Oak tree in our backyard. The hole was created when a branch broke off, causing the tree's inner heartwood to rot. The space left behind provides an ideal environment for our wood ducks, with a convenient entrance & exit hole!
3. What happens when the eggs hatch? The ducklings will only stay with their mother in their tree home for about 12-24 hours. Then she flies out of the tree, and calls to her ducklings from the ground 50 feet below. The ducklings are too young to fly. Instead, they climb up the side of the tree cavity using the powerful claws they have on the underside of their webbed feet. Then, perched at the edge of the tree hole, one by one, they jump to meet their mother below!
4. Why don't the ducklings hurt themselves when jumping 50 feet? The ducklings cannot fly, but because they weigh less than an ounce they are able to safely free fall without getting injured! They are born with a full coat of down and are so light they actually bounce when they hit the ground. They even do some cool flips and spins as they fall past leaves & branches on the way down.
5. What does it mean if the mother is not in the nest?
She is probably off finding food; she gets hungry keeping all her eggs warm all day. She feeds by diving for aquatic plants in the nearby pond. On land, she feeds on acorns, seeds, fruits and insects. But, she never leaves the nest for long because she does not want an intruder to eat her precious eggs, so stick around and maybe you'll see her return!
6. What is all the white fluff? The fluff is actually down feathers the mother plucks from her own breast! She uses her fluffy feathers to create a soft nest for her eggs. The down also helps keep the eggs nice and warm while she's away.
7. Where is the Male Wood Duck? After breeding with the female and helping her find a home, the male Wood Duck returns to the pond. The female raises the ducklings on her own until they are old enough to fend for themselves, at about 2 months of age.