Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ducks in Trees 2

Straight across from a spot where I like to stand and view the pond is a majestic old oak in it's declining years. It is probably a couple hundred years old and still has a lot of life left in it, but it is obviously past it's prime.

It provides just the type of limbs birds of any size prefer to perch on when they land in trees. Osprey, Eagles, Vultures and, yes, Wood Ducks all favor branches that don't have smaller limbs growing out of them which can tear up their feathers when they land. There are seven ducks in this photograph and you can see which branches they chose to land upon.

It was a banner morning for seeing ducks in trees. There were two more over on the other side of the tree. In truth, having webbed feet, Wood Ducks need a rather broad limb upon which to stand. They have sharp toes that allow them to climb, but that cannot grasp a limb like smaller birds can.

There were so many ducks coming and going that at times it was difficult to keep track of who was where. Seeing the females raises questions in my mind. Are they not going to nest this year? Do they have a clutch somewhere and they are simply taking a break? Were they simply unable to find a suitable cavity to raise a brood?

The ones who really seem to have it made are the boys of summer. Some of the males do not appear to have mates. Mated pairs are easy to spot because whithersoever one goes, so goes the other.

But then there is the boy's club. Handsome guys who would just as soon prefer not to be nagged and who enjoy one another's company.

Things aren't always sweetness and light, though. The two males on the limb began to move towards the trunk of the tree, but the one in the lead wasn't moving fast enough to suit the other. Taking a cue from another bird, he "goosed" him which had the effect of making him fly.

This guy appeared to want to reach something in the smaller branches. I thought perhaps an acorn. It wasn't close enough, however, and the branch in which he was interested was too small to perch upon.

There were so many pictures of ducks in trees I wanted to share, I decided to split them into two parts and will continue tomorrow.

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