Monday, May 10, 2021

Wood Duck

A photographer of birds can hardly walk by a Wood Duck without stopping to take a picture. These images are of six at the McLane Creek Nature Trail near Olympia on 7 May 2020. Erika and I only saw males. Perhaps they staked out territories while waiting for females to arrive. We did not, however, notice any aggression between the drakes.
As we watched from a viewing pier, two of the drakes swam quickly, making a wide circle around us. After making three quarters of a circle around us, the two ducks flushed and flew further down the lake. Looking at these images, I notice that the closer drake has his scapular feathers raised. I find no mention of this behavior in the literature. The day was windy—perhaps the scapulars just blew oddly on the close bird. Drakes are not normally aggressive towards one another. When aggression is shown, drakes open their beaks, lower their necks, and attack. Possibly the drake was showing aggression towards us, but hesitant to attack.

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