One of These Mallards Is Not the Same

Male Mallard ducks have a gleaming green head in the spring. They aren’t the only ducks that do. Red Breasted Mergansers and Green-winged Teal also have green or partly green heads. Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup also sport glittering green when the light hits right. And if you look at this photo you’ll see one of these mallards is not the same:

Photo of Wood Duck Mallards Males Burlington ON March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

That’s because this half-sized male isn’t a Mallard; he’s a Wood Duck. He’s been wintering at LaSalle Park in Burlington Ontario amongst a huge flock of hundreds of Mallards. Given his smaller stature, he can be surprisingly difficult to find even when you know he’s there.

Photo of Wood Duck Mallards LaSalle Marina ON on NaturalCrooksDotCom

How Much Wood Would a Wood Duck Duck if a Wood Duck Could Duck Wood?

Male Wood Duck in Breeding Plumage Brings Photographers to Burlington

Wood Ducks are not uncommon in Ontario. They frequent High Park in Toronto, for example, but not in the winter.

For some reason, out of season birds bring out more bird watchers than they would during their proper season. When I went to look at the Trumpeter Swans at LaSalle Marina, I found several people with amazingly large and complex cameras apparently taking photos of a flock of Mallards being fed bread. That seemed rather extraordinary. So I slowly moved closer and found out about the Wood Duck. One gentleman had actually driven in from Kitchener just to take photos of it. Fortunately he would have lots of opportunity to do that as the Wood Duck is a winter resident and the light was good.

Photo of Wood Duck Male At LaSalle Pk ON March on NaturalCrooksDotCom

I already have some photos I like of Wood Ducks, from Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary Alberta, so I went back to admiring the Trumpeters. To each their own!

What Do Wood Ducks Eat?

Besides bread, what is this wintering Wood Duck likely eating? According to Cornell University’s AllAboutBirds.Org website, Wood Ducks eat acorns, grains, water plants, insects, snails and arthropods. Since the Trumpeters are given some grain daily, perhaps this little fella is gleaning some of it. There are also some water plants at LaSalle although I don’t know if he is eating any of them.

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Have you seen any Wood Ducks this winter? Did they have a mob of paparazzi-style photographers documenting their every move? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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