Woodies at Botany Pond

Here are our two semi-resident wood ducks (Aix sponsa) at Botany Pond, photographed during the last two days. We had two males and a female, but the female left, and today both males are gone, but may return.

The males are in “eclipse plumage”, on their way to becoming gorgeous multicolored creatures out of a painting (see bottom)

These are perching ducks at home in the trees, and they like to sit on the cypress knees:

The “Woodie Brothers”, whom I’ve named “Blockhead” (the thick one) and “Frisky” (the smart and quick one).

Within a few weeks they’ll look like this, but they may not be around for us to see (photo from Wikipedia):


  1. EdwardM
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Such beautiful birds! We are so lucky hens are into that kind of thing. Imagine if they preferred their drakes to look like, I don’t know, a pile of dead bugs or colored like duck poop or something. I hope they stay until they look that good.

  2. Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    It is exciting to hope that there may one day be woodies in breeding colors at Botany pond!

  3. Mark R.
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Fingers crossed that they stick around and show off their beauty. “Blockhead” made me lol!

  4. Paul Matthews
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    There are lots of male wood ducks in full breeding plumage in my neck of the woods right now, so I assumed the Botany Pond woodies were young birds that had hatched earlier in the year (perhaps brothers). According to the Sibley guide, though, and it’s the bible for many birders, eclipse plumage lasts June to September whereas juvenile plumage lasts only till August. So perhaps the breeding-plumage woodies I’m seeing are actually first-year birds and the Botany Pond birds are indeed adults in eclipse plumage. If so, they should moult into full breeding plumage very soon.

  5. Posted September 28, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    This is so thrilling and lovely!

  6. John Conoboy
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Ducks and geese are gathering at our local open space pond. They usually stay around for most of the winter. Saw a lovely male and female wood duck the other day when I was walking around the area.

  7. rickflick
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Even eclipse is not half bad. My favorite duck.

  8. Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if these will become as tame as some of your mallards. It would be quite a thrill to be so close to them.

    May I suggest you ask some volunteer to build you a Wood Duck house so you get breeding birds here? Wood Ducks are largely limited by the lack of nesting holes in trees. They do accept nest boxes readily.


  9. Posted September 29, 2020 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Ducks photo is very cute,and good informative.

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