The colorful wood duck is one of Arkansas' most beautiful waterfowl species and only year round duck resident. The wood duck can also be found in the forest of southern Canada and throughout wooded areas of the United States.
The male wood duck is the most colorful North American duck. Its upper feathers glitter with green, blue and purple. Females tend to be less colorful and are brown, yellowish-brown and white. Males and females have crests extending back from the top of their heads. Wood ducks are approximately 20 inches long.
During the nesting stage, wood ducks nest in tree cavities near water, but readily accept properly constructed and located boxes. The nesting begins in February and continues throughout the month of June. a clutch of 6-12 eggs is an average amount per year. Incubation is about 32 days. Ducklings leave the box immediately after hatching. Their first flight is about nine weeks. Free falls of up to 40 feet apparently do not harm them. One brood per year is normal, but two broods can occur. Ducklings receive their nourishment and food supplement from insects.
Wood ducks frequent ponds, swamps and other wetlands near woods. They feed on acorns, seeds, rice, smartweed, pondweed, barnyard grass, duckweed, insects, fruits and nuts of woody plants.
Area conservationists can help the wood ducks by giving them a home.
For more information or to obtain a free copy of wood duck plans, contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service or Sharp County Conservation District at 994-7335.