Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wood Duck

The last birds we saw at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge on 30 November were a pair of Wood Ducks. The hen was not as cooperative as this drake.

Ornithologists in the early 20th century believed this duck would soon be extinct. Hunters prize them for obvious reasons. Over hunting, deforestation, and habitat destruction all contributed to the prediction of their demise. Although Wood Ducks still comprise about 10% of the annual duck harvest (Hepp and Belrose 2013), their populations have made a remarkable recovery. Hunting is regulated, nest boxes set out by conservation groups encourage nesting, and forests have recovered.

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