Reader’s wildlife video

May 27, 2018 • 7:45 am

When I met Tara Tanaka in Florida in April, I told her that my favorites among her many wildlife videos were those showing wild ducklings leaping from their nest box to join their mother on the ground. In response, she edited this video just for me (with narration!), and I’m touched. It shows what happened when three different species of ducks laid eggs in a single nest box, but only one mother incubated them. (If you have questions about this, Tara may respond in the comments).  Be sure to enlarge the video.

She adds this:

In this video I mentioned that we had an alligator appear when our very first Black-bellied Whistling ducklings were jumping from this box – here is that video:

Tara’s Vimeo page is here, and her flickr page is here.

21 thoughts on “Reader’s wildlife video

  1. Superbly done. Things like that make me wonder why people needed to invent a heaven when it’s clearly all around us, and even better than fiction anyhow.

    1. I couldn’t agree more!! I’m so fortunate to have this out the window, and enjoy capturing photos and video that much more since I know I’ll get to share it with others who appreciate it too.

    1. Unfortunately when I saw them the next time, maybe three weeks later, there were only about 7 or 8 whistling ducks – the little wood ducks didn’t make it…

  2. Aaaaw ! .That. is just, Ms Tanaka,
    the darlingest ! My … … my !

    Thank YOU for this work of yours !


    1. Thank you so much!! Recording the video is the fun part, but comments like yours keep me going when I’m fighting with untested video editing software.

  3. Greetings Tara, Will the Wood Duck and Merganser fledglings find there way back to their own ‘kind’ or will they go through life confused?

    1. Hi J.,

      Sadly there were no Hooded Merganser ducklings, and the two little Wood Ducks weren’t with the family when I saw them a few weeks later (they’d also lost 2 or 3 Whistling Ducks). I suspect the Wood Ducks would have chosen Wood Duck mates, but that’s a good question. What would have been most interesting to me would have been their calls – Whistling Ducks and Wood Ducks have very different calls.

  4. Thanks for this Tara & Jerry

    Twelve ducklings

    First video I know of with the added value of Tara commentary & excellent editing! I couldn’t really spot the differences in the appearance of the duckling species, need to get my eye in.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it Michael. I have dubbed in the voice of an eaglet in an earlier video, but this IS the first video I’ve done with commentary. The story was a bit complicated and I didn’t want you to have to try to read while you were watching the ducks. I have another story to tell about a cavity in a snag and all of the birds that did use and tried to use it last spring. That may be my next video.

      1. I had to look up snag: “tree or branch in water and partly near the surface, so as to be dangerous to navigation” [1807]

        I look forward very much to your mini-movie of hopeful home hunters

        1. Our snag is actually in the yard, not in the water. I’ve always thought of a snag as a dead tree that’s lost all of its leaves. Ours is a pine that my husband girdled (using an ax, he cut the outer layer of bark about 6″ high from the circumference of the tree) at least 5 years ago, for the sole purpose of providing habitat for woodpeckers who would then leave their cavities for other cavity nesters. After the Pileated Woodpecker pair successfully fledged two adorable boys, a Wood Duck laid eggs and fledged 5 ducklings, which had to start their lives by jumping approximately 75′ to the ground.

  5. Very cool. It’s interesting to think about the various possibilities if the wood ducks had survived. At the nest level, it would be parasitic, but if there was reciprocity with wood ducks raising whistling ducks as well, it would be mutualism.

    Although this is a different situation, question 5 on the 2018 AP Bio Exam addresses an interesting cuckoo-warbler relationship.

    1. It may be that this situation happens again in the same box. This morning a hen Wood Duck brought out two ducklings. We cleaned out the box, took out the two remaining bad eggs, and put fresh wood chips in it. Within two hours there was a pair of Wood Ducks on top anxiously checking the status of the potential nest site. The hen finally got up the courage to fly to the opening and look inside, but she flew away as if there was already a duck in there. There are pairs of Whistling Ducks everywhere just waiting for a box. Although the drake Wood Duck “picks up” the incubating hen in the morning and evening for her feeding, dropping her back off afterwards, I’ve only seen one drake that stayed nearby as the ducklings jumped, and stayed watchful as they grew. When a Wood Duck and a Whistling Duck are both laying eggs in the same box, if the Whistling Ducks start incubating, there is no way for the Wood Duck to ever get back in, as the Whistling Ducks switch very quickly. I saw both the hen Wood Duck and the Hooded Merganser try multiple times to get back in the box, only to have a big, pink beak jab at them when they looked in the entrance.

Leave a Reply