[CT Birds] Wood Duck behavior

elphick at sbcglobal.net elphick at sbcglobal.net
Thu May 28 21:49:39 EDT 2015

Glenn is correct about brood parasitism being common in some ducks and wood ducks are one of those species (eiders and goldeneyes are others).  Because female dulce do not feed their young there is little cost - and potentially a benefit - so rejection doesn't happen as it does with some other forms of brood parasitism. One side effect is that if wood duck boxes are put up out in the open you can get so much parasitism that hatching rates go down because eggs are not incubated properly. I've read reports of up to 4 females laying in the same next within 15 mins of each other.  Under such circumstances the provision of nest boxes can even cause a population to decrease.  The solution is to place boxes the way that natural cavities are located -scattered, often hard to see, and back in the woods.  

That said I've no idea why the duckling was chased. Other than that we all engage in "non-adaptive" behavior from time to time. 

Chris Elphick
Storrs, CT

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