Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Personal Wood Ducks?

My Personal Wood Ducks?

Ask me which waterfowl is my favorite and I will have a tough time giving an answer.But if my art portfolio is any gauge, most would agree I have a thing for Wood Ducks. Who could blame me? I dont think I ever get tired of them.The Drake of the species has to be one of the most beautiful birds on earth.

Wood Duck people are having some good years latley as their numbers have soared, Not bad for a bird whom once seemed in serious trouble. Good sound management and tight restrictions on gunning have helped but our recognition of their proper nesting sites has been the key. The land abandonment practice which began at the beginning of the 20th century has allowed for the reforesting of much of the Northeast and provided plenty of trees which these birds love to use as nesting sites. I was surprised to learn how far from water these ducks will go to nest and how high above ground. The most amazing thing is the Duckling leap. This free fall to earth is instrumental to their development and Hatchlings deprived of this experience will not survive. Talk about tough love!

The Drake wood Duck is a very giving bird. As a game bird they are fast on the wing, When added to the game bag they are always sketched and studied, Their flank feathers are collected and used to tie the Famous Catskill Fly Patterns. These feathers are so valued for their effectiveness that at least one of the fathers of American Fly Tying ( RUBE CROSS) was actually jailed for possession of wood duck feathers when these birds were protected. They are excellent on the table as well!

Yesterday I witnessed a courtship flight which terminated with a pair of Woodies hanging in one of my trees all day. I hope they are nesting, It wood be nice to have a personal Wood Duck Family.

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