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Posts Tagged ‘black bellied whistling duck’

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Black-bellied whistling duck on top of the wood duck nest box.

Through the magic of a Ring doorbell camera, we are watching the wood duck nestbox in our backyard on the bayou. During the months of March and April, we had a reliable wood duck hen sitting on a clutch of 14 eggs. On April 15th, 13 ducklings, barely 24 hours old, jumped out of the nestbox into the bayou. And off they went.

We’ve had a wet spring, so the bayou has been high. My husband pulled a canoe up to the nestbox, tied it there, and climbed a stepladder to clean out the nestbox. The next day we had shoppers, new wood duck couples swimming by, poking around.

We thought we had a new hen sitting. Day by day a hen would fly into the house and lay an egg. She seemed to start the incubation a week ago; however, her sitting was erratic. There one day, gone the next.

A few days ago, I noticed a larger, louder duck inside the wood duck house. Invaders! Squatters! Thieves! The ducks were what we call Mexican Squealers or Black-bellied whistling ducks. This duck is larger, with a bright orange bill, long legs, and a loud squeal. Two of them. How did they get in? Why? Did they lay an egg? It was actually hilarious to watch these ducks try to get back out of the house. Lots of noisy squealing and legs scrambling.

Since this incident, the hen has come back and settled in. She doesn’t leave as often and for as long. Maybe we can start counting days. We’ll see. Nature is not predictable. Even an innocent nestbox is not always peaceful.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@margaretgsimon) for updates on the wood duck house. On Twitter during May I am posting #poemsofpresence. Here’s the poem-of-the-day for Monday.

Rainy grey Monday,
Watching new wood duck tenant
nestle for sitting.

Margaret Simon, #poemsofpresence

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