A Day in the Life of a Baby Wood Duck

My new addiction to bird photography is growing. What I am posting here pretty much sums up why I find this type of photography to be so exciting. I took these over the course of three hours at the Cal State Fullerton University Arboretum on Thursday afternoon.

Baby Wood Duck Chick (Aix sponsa) With Dirt in Mouth, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California Picture: Baby Wood Duck Chick (Aix sponsa) With Earthworm in Mouth, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California

I spotted a family of wood ducks almost immediately after arriving, but some poorly-parented little girls kept scaring them back into the water by running after them and throwing bread at them. That was really frustrating to see. I wanted to throw those stupid little kids and their ignorant parents into the pond and see how they felt. Once they left, the baby wood ducks kept approaching me and looking for earthworms near my feet because they knew who I am apparently and wanted some publicity on the internet for their cause. So I laid my tripod on it’s side flat on the ground and took eye-level photos of these baby wood duck chicks within touching distance. The cutest moment I have ever seen in my life.

Female Mother Wood Duck Protecting Family of Chicks by Fighting Off Rival Mallard Duck, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California Photo: Female Mother Wood Duck Protecting Family of Chicks by Fighting Off Rival Mallard Duck, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California

While a thrill-seeking photographer such as myself posed no threat to the birds, other ducks were. Notice the baby wood duck chicks hiding behind the mother wood duck as a mallard approaches them. Might be a little hard to see in this little thumbnail but they are clearly visible in the original file. When I was photographing the ducks at the L.A. County Arboretum I couldn’t figure out why the ducks were so hostile and defensive to other birds. Well this photo below might offer an insight as to why that is.

Great Blue Heron Kills Baby Wood Duck Chick for Meal, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California Picture: Great Blue Heron Kills Baby Wood Duck Chick for Meal, CSU Fullerton Arboretum, California

By the time I took the 2nd photo, the mother was protecting four wood duck chicks. My initial photos of the wood duck family when I arrived at the CSU Fullerton Arboretum consisted five or six chicks… This is a day in the life of a baby wood duck.

See more of my bird pictures.

15 thoughts

  1. Hey Richard,

    Great post! Baby Wood Ducks, I would love to spend time with them. Dramatic shot of the Heron.

    Are you the same person who wrote this on my blog just a few months ago? LOL:

    “Maybe I’m mistaken but I don’t understood why bird photographers are so excited about shooting ducks at Santee. Some birds are excxiting but ducks don’t particularly strike me as such. “

  2. lol Ron. I am an ego-maniacal hypocrite. I knew that would come back to haunt me when I wrote this. At the time, I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do with ducks. I just knew that I didn’t want bird on a stick type of shots.

  3. We put up a nest box in April 09, the next day the male and female were checking it out. The female laid 10 eggs, the babies jumped out 3 days ago! I don’t have a great camera and had to take the picture from my window so as not to scare the hen…it was awesome!

  4. I bet that was an awesome experience Pat. It would be interesting enough to have randomly seen it but given that you were involved with it makes it that much more special.

  5. Love the pictures but I was dissappointed to see and learn about the Heron. Living on a homemade houseboat in Tn. I am lucky to have wood ducks here daily and get the exciting experience of watching the babies go from birth to adult.

  6. I was happy to find this site and hope you can help me. I have a baby wood duck that was found and rescued from a drain hole. My mom said I could care for it and release it when it was ready to live on it’s own. Any help on care would be great. I have feed for it but not sure how else to care for it.

    Thanks!

  7. Hi Tanner. I don’t have any experience raising ducks so unfortunately I can’t help you there. Perhaps you could call a local vet or the arboretum and ask them for advice.

  8. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience. I recently saw a baby wood duck riding on it’s mother’s back as it was swimming – so adorable. I agree with you about throwing the parents in who allowed their children to chase them and throw bread at them. Let’s not throw the children in though as it’s really the parents’ who need to learn to be kind and teach their children what kindness is. I also agree with you about never going duck hunting. I just don’t get how you can appreciate their beauty and still want to kill them. As a vegan, I feel very sad for all the animals who are killed daily because we sanction it

    • That is true, Catherine. I agree. It’s those who weren’t taught to respect animals that will go on allowing their kids to do this sort of behavior. I will never understand what goes through the mind of a person that gets pleasure from killing an animal.

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