One strange sighting near my swimming area was this black duck. You must currently be thinking to yourself, “why on earth is this news worthy?”
And if you are, then feel free to close this window and go back to reading the depressing news of the day.
This duck was interesting to me because the main breeds of duck in Inks Lake are Wood ducks and Mallards. This is a mallard crossed with some domestic breed which apparently is quite common. I thought it was freakish…And cool.
I never did see a live wood duck while I lived on the lake (yes, I’ve returned home). But it is understandable. They are very shy lot. I am fascinated by their lives though and I never thought I would say that. Birds are extremely boring to me and I find a very hard time finding reasons to adore them as I do other creatures.
Wood ducks get their name because they have nests in trees (not tree ducks?). Because of loss of habitat you will quite often see them with hatchlings in wood duck boxes. These boxes are high off the ground (predators) and are specifically designed for these little boogers.
Inside the tall box on the side with the hole/door in it there is chicken wire that has been mounted flush to the wall of the box. I found out that within 24 hours of hatching a baby wood duckling will use little claws/hooks on their webbed feet to climb the chicken wire and jump (yes, jump) out of the box and scamper for the water.
If a wood duck box is made without this crucial chicken wire/climbing wall then the will chicks die.
Imagine your wobbly headed baby leaping 90+/- feet within the first day of its life? Not gonna happen and survive to tell the tale.
Another boss thing about wood ducks? They look pimp as hell.