Wood ducks at Clark Lake in 2013. Photo: Diane Deming

Unlike mallards that we see often at Clark Lake, wood ducks are less prevalent and go about bringing new generations into the world differently.  Wood ducks search for nesting locations in trees.  And some people at Clark Lake have put out the welcome mat by creating specially designed housing in trees or on posts high above the ground.

Once the eggs hatch, the brood does not stay in the nest for long.  In about 24 hours, the mother leaves the nest, 30 or 40 feet above the ground, and calls to her young.  The mother has flown to the ground and her offspring must make the jump without benefit of developed wings or other aerodynamic skills. Unable to fly, they plummet but apparently are designed to handle the impact.  The mother gathers them together and then acquaints them with the waters of the lake.

Today John Stewart was looking out his front window and was watching at the moment the ducklings began leaving the nest.  Amazingly he was ready with a camera and recorded the action and even provided some play-by-play.


At one time, wood ducks were on the endangered species list.  Knowing this, individuals stepped in and built artificial housing.  This helped rescue the species from extinction.  More wood ducks may be born at Clark Lake than mallards, but you don’t see much of them.  Once they leave the nest, where do they go?