Posts Tagged ‘wood duck nesting box’

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We live on the Bayou Teche (pronounced “tesh”) in New Iberia, Louisiana. Our address/mile marker is 69.4 on the 125 mile bayou. The name came from a Native American word for snake. The legend tells of a huge snake that was killed by arrow and its body made the impression of what is now a water way.

One of our favorite activities on the bayou is our wood duck nesting house. Each year for about 5 years, we have had two clutches of eggs hatch in the box. Jeff mounted a Ring doorbell camera inside the box, so we can watch the mother duck come and go and know when the babies hatch. The very next day, 24 hours, the little tiny hatchlings jump from the house and follow mother duck off into the bayou.

The mother duckling has been sitting for a month now. She’s an experienced mom that has been attentive and dedicated to her eggs. But today is due day, and the temperatures have dropped below freezing, a weird March winter chill. I am worried. I’m hoping they will stay in their safe eggshells for at least another day, so they can jump into milder water.

My head knows that wood ducks have been doing this for generations, so they will be OK. But my grandmother heart wants them all to hatch and all to go off into the sunset, so to speak. This is a screenshot from yesterday as the hen was busy turning the eggs. If you want to watch the Jump Day, we will set up a “Duck Door” camera and record the jump. Last year’s footage is on my YouTube channel linked below.

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Thirty-four days. Our wood duck hen sat for thirty-four days. We were losing hope, afraid the freeze back in March did it. On Sunday morning I got a text from a bayou neighbor, “Today is jump day for one of our houses!”

“Our duck has been sitting for 34 days. No hatching yet. I’m not sure we should keep waiting.”

“Mine sat for longer than usual.”

So I flipped over to our RIng app. Did I hear cheeping? Mother hen was eating a shell. They were hatching!

You probably want to know how many, but it’s nearly impossible to count when they are little blurry black blobs wiggling.

Monday was Jump Day. It was also a school/work day. We had to rely on the camera. Jeff set up a new Ring camera outside of the house in order to record the jump. Around 10:00, I checked the cameras. Gone. All the ducks had jumped. I missed it, but the camera did not.

As I showed the video to my student, Avalyn, she named the little ducklings. “Come on, Tiffany, you can do it!” she urged as one of the babies hesitated to jump. Avalyn also wrote a poem-song (impromptu) to celebrate Jump Day!

Wood duck, wood duck
open your shell.
Come out, come out, come out now!
Little duck, little duck,
quack with your snout.
Little duck little duck, little duck
don’t you frown
Come play in the bayou
and make no sound.

Avalyn, 2nd grade
Jump Day, 2022: Watch the lower right corner to see Momma Duck come back to get a wayward duckling.

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