Monday, July 21, 2008

Juvenile Wood Ducks at Charles River

While on my recent walk at the Charles River I noticed lots of juvenile ducks that I initially assumed were Mallards, then thought were Blue-winged Teals, and finally realized were Juvenile Wood Ducks thanks to my friend Dave.

Many of the ducks I saw were hanging out on overturned trees laying in the river, and this group was roosting in a tree right near the footbridge. There was a very large group of Canada Geese nearby since people were feeding them bread. This annoys me not only because I know it's not good for the birds, but also because it's frustrating if I'm running or walking because I need to navigate around the birds or avoid the path altogether if there's too many of them.
According to a recent feature in the "Green Guru" column in the July/August issue of Audubon Magazine, feeding wild birds is harmful for the following reasons:
  • White bread offers poor nutrition for the birds (refined sugar and processed fats are essentially "junk food" for them).
  • It causes ducks to gather in larger-than-normal groups, which might alter the behavior of the birds and make individual ducks more aggressive.
  • Another negative result of allowing large groups of birds to gather is it might change their migration timing and some ducks might not migrate at all.
  • Large bird congregations can also contribute to the spread of disease among birds.

There was also a article on the subject in a recent MassWildlife newsletter, but I'm having trouble finding it online.


Larry said...

Wow!What a pleasant surprise!I would have to check out a field guide before knowing the i.d.I'm used to seeing the male and also that white eye ring they have when not in breeding plumage. Of course the fact that they're in a tree is a good clue.-Great capture!

Birdinggirl said...

Yes- I was excited to see my first Wood Ducks. The credit goes to my friend Dave who's a wildlife biologist- he specializes in birds and knows his waterfowl.