At Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art, spring showed itself on February 28th with a glorious morning full of light puffy clouds, warm sunshine, and bird song. As I looked for screech owls warming themselves in the low winter sun, I heard crimson Northern Cardinals shimmer and puffed up their feathers while they sang their hearts out. Blue Jays flew overhead, chickadees graced trees with their cherrie presence, and the world seemed to start to come out of their winter slumber.
For the past few years, wood ducks begin to scout out a vernal pool that is close to my office to see if it is suitable for nesting (there is a nest box on a tree next to the pool). The day before (February 27) fairy shrimp emerged from the leaves at the bottom of the vernal pool by the thousands.
I decided to see if any wood ducks were using the pool, while also checking out the fairy shrimp (which numbered in the tens of thousands the evening before.) Here is a video I took of the fairy shrimp the night before.
As I walked into the pine grove and up a gentle hill to the vernal pool, I slowed my pace because wood ducks will immediately flush and fly away when you get anywhere near them. I slowly moved and watched the pond for ripples of water that indicate ducks are swimming, but saw nothing, but this time it felt different. My ears picked up lots of chattering that sounded like zippers opening and closing. As I looked up to see where the sound was coming, it happened. Wood ducks where walking and flying between the branches of maples, oaks, and pines. It was amazing. I was lucky enough to have my camera with me and I’d like to share a few photos and a video.
Wood duck video
Wood duck photos