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Wood Ducks!

Around the middle of  July, the coastal plains aviary became home to 2 families of wood ducks.  The ducks came to us from a breeding facility down near the North Carolina border. Both families are doing quite well.  In both batches of wood ducks, there are a few young birds that look a bit different from the usual colors you see in the wood duck population.  They are a lighter variation that has a grayish silver appearance. They are very unusual and unique looking birds.

The first indication that the wood ducks were actively brooding a batch of babies was that we noticed the female wood ducks coming and going quite frequently from the nesting boxes that were donated by Wild Birds Unlimited and placed in our coastal plains aviary for the ducks to use should they want to raise some little ones:

Mama duck peeking out of the nesting box. Photo: Karl Rebenstorf

Once we were certain that there were eggs in the nesting box, we kept monitoring each day to see what was in store for our expectant duck parents:

Inside the nesting box, all was nice and cozy. Photo: Karl Rebenstorf

After the ducklings hatched, we kept them in an area behind the scenes for a bit so they could grow a little more before going out on exhibit with all of the other birds on display.

This is the setup for keeping the young ducks and their mother in preparation for going on exhibit when the babies got a bit older

After awhile, once mom and the ducklings were doing well, we returned them to the exhibit to be on display for the visitors to enjoy. As mentioned earlier, these ducklings show a bit of genetic diversity not commonly seen in the wild populations. They are a striking silvery color, and are very noticeable out in the exhibit.   

Genetic diversity can be found in some populations of wood ducks

These young ducks are currently on display in the coastal plains aviary for visitors to see how unusually unique these birds are.

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