Wood Ducks

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Which is the most colorful of North America’s native waterfowl? Unquestionably, the answer is the male Wood Duck. These little ducks display brilliant plumage, made more so by the fact that much of it is iridescent. In the right light Wood Ducks seem to glow with nearly every color of the visible spectrum.

Wood Ducks’ range doesn’t generally include southern Arizona. However, every couple of winters or so, one or a handful of them will show up in the Tucson area, often frequenting man-made ponds in one or more of our local municipal parks.

A couple of weeks ago I received a tip from a friend that a Wood Duck had been spotted on a pond in a Tucson city park. The next morning I drove there, hoping to find the duck. To my surprise, there wasn’t just one male Wood Duck on the pond, but two of them.

I found the two reposing on a shaded rocky bank. It was a thrill to get the two Wood Ducks together, but what I really wanted was an image of at least one of them in full sunlight, displaying its incredible plumage. I had to wait for about a half hour, until one of the pair decided to go for a swim in the pond. After a few minutes of cruising in the shade, the duck emerged into full sunlight and I made this image.

Now this was well worth waiting for!

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500 f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens, M setting (auto ISO). First image, ISO 10,000, f16 @ 1/500. Second image, ISO 250, f6.3 @ 1/500, +1/3 stop exposure compensation.

4 Replies to “Wood Ducks”

  1. cintwigg says:

    Two beautiful, memorable images.

  2. rebelbreeze says:

    I believe these are like the Mandarin Duck, nesting in trees and their ducklings, when called by their mother, jumping out down to the ground, to bounce apparently unharmed, before taking to the water.

  3. Robert J Jr. says:

    Incredible captures!

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