I never expected to see Wood Ducks in downtown Toronto.
My trip to the Brickworks last weekend to find Red-Winged Blackbirds was far more exciting than I anticipated. As I was walking around the little ponds chatting to the Mallards (who wanted to find out if I had any treats to share) I noticed a few other ducks in a pond a little further back. They were smaller than the Mallards and seemed to stay away from the side of the pond that was close to the path. I had to look through my telephoto lens to see what they were, and I discovered that they were Wood Ducks!
Wood Ducks are small, colourful, shy ducks. They nest in tree cavities. They have quite large heads for their size, and long, slicked-back crests. The males are extremely colourful, with a brilliant red breast and green, blue, and purple on the head and back, while the females mostly look dull brown; however, if they swim out into the sunshine, the females’ brown feathers turn the most glorious shades of iridescent bronze.
These little ducks were painfully shy – you can see in the photos how they stuck close to the reeds, where most people couldn’t see them. I had to hide in the long grass and poke my lens through in order to get photos without scaring them away. You can see the grass blurring the edges of a couple of the pictures.
There are four photos in this gallery. Click on any picture to launch.