Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) and her chicks

Location: Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, Alameda County, Calif.    Date: May 21, 2005

Here is a distant shot of a female Wood Duck swimming with her 11 chicks (of which 2 are shown). It's hard to see in the photo, but chicks seem to show two white dots on sides of their rump, like rear signal lights on cars. California Waterfowl Association has installed some wood duck nest boxes along Arroyo Del Valle. She may have used one of those.

"Eggs: 9-14, sometimes 6-15." "Females frequently lay eggs in each other's nests, sometimes in 'dump nests' where no incubation ever takes place." "Incubation is by female only, 25-35 days." "Young are tended by females for 5-6 weeks, capable of flight at about 8-9 weeks." [From Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman]

Click here for another view of the same brood, a week later.

Photo by Akira So