Wood Ducks, Ladner BC

Recently I visited the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary again.  This time there were no sandhill cranes out and about to distract me from the wood ducks.  Are these crazy-amazing birds to find outside the tropics, or what?

Male and female wood ducks, beak to beak.



  1. Laurna Tallman

    Or in the tropics. There is something counter-intuitive, counter-camouflage, and contradictory about the males’ plumage, its bold colours and sharp delineation of shapes. Or is that commentary on the male of this species the underlying logic of its evolution? This female invites every comparison, which is perhaps her protection in the wild that makes him the helpful distraction? If he insists on perching in trees, perhaps she needs the kaleidoscopic display to keep track of him?

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Laurna – I often wonder what went into shaping bird plumage. These guys, like our northern cardinals, don’t seem to worry about being seen – or, maybe, they want to be sure the female does see them, as you suggest.

  2. John Whitman

    Isabel – With respect to the brilliant coloring of male wood ducks, it helps to remember that animals, including those that might prey on wood ducks, don’t generally have the same range of color vision as human beings, i.e. a fox or a coyote might not see the same brilliant colors we do.

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