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Did you know?

Wood ducks have been making a healthy recovery after the steep decline they suffered from overhunting and habitat loss prior to their legal protection. The felling of large trees robbed these ducks of the cavities they need for nest sites. Nest-worthy tree cavities are created when a large branch breaks off a mature tree, allowing the tree’s heartwood to rot. Fortunately, wood ducks adapted to using nest boxes, like those offered at the Daisy Wildlife Sanctuary helping to offset habitat loss.

They prefer bottomland forests, swamps, marshes, ponds and habitat along streams and slow-moving rivers, as long as there are nearby woods where they can hide and forage. Their diverse diet includes aquatic plants, flies, beetles, caterpillars, snails, acorns and waste grain.

Females line their nest with downy feathers from their breast and incubate their eggs for 28–37 days. One day after the chicks hatch, they climb out of the nest and jump to the ground. It may be a drop of as many as 60 feet, yet they land safely in a pillow-like layer of leaves. They’ll spend nine or ten weeks with their mother, learning to forage and find cover. In the southern portion of their range wood ducks are usually permanent residents, while those in the north are migratory. Either way, these powerful fliers can cover up to 30 miles an hour!

 

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