Wood Ducks Fledging Their Nest Box


About a month ago riding the Chesapeake Farms wildlife auto tour, I had stopped for several minutes, trying to get my lens on a bird, to no avail.

It was then, just up ahead on my left about 30 feet, an array of excited chirps and chattering filled the woods’ silence.

Slowly moving my car forward, passing a clump of bushes and large tree trunk was Wood Duck nest box #17.  And adorable, chattering Wood Ducks were fledging!

“Weeee!”  (plop!)

“Woohoo!”  (plop!)

No time to grab my other camera with wider lens on the passenger seat.  I had my 200-500mm lens in my hand; so I stayed at 200mm and clicked away as ducklings #3 through #9 jumped 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) down to the water!


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“The Scene”
(at 200mm)


I am sharing this delightful event in sequence, with further photo cropping unless a duckling was sailing out.


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Ducklings #3 with #4 trying to see


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Ducklings #3 and #4


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“My turn!”


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Ducklings #5 not waiting as #6 looks on


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Duckling #6 pondering


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Ducklings #6 getting ready to jump with #7 looking on


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Duckling #7


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“I don’t know about this…..”


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“It sure looks pretty far down…..”


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“Okay….I think I got this….”


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“Here I come!”


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Ducklings #8 and #9


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Duckling #8 pushing off for the plunge


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Duckling #9 all alone


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“Wait for me!”


Within one minute, all nine ducklings were now in the water below.


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Wood Duck ducklings


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I quickly scanned the trees above, looking for Momma but didn’t see her.  I pulled away slowly so she could come down to them.

Twenty minutes later I passed by this location again on my way out of the farm and not a duckling in sight.  Momma had done her job and escorted them away to safer waters deeper in the woods.  🙂


44 thoughts on “Wood Ducks Fledging Their Nest Box

    • Thank you, Mic! I truly got lucky with this delightful opportunity. I thankfully remembered to turn off my car to help with my pumping adrenaline and staying as calm/stable as possible! 😉 🙂

  1. Oh my gosh! This was totally delightful Donna, especially as you watched them make their
    escape one by one counting them off and viewing their jump! That was exciting!
    Love this post!

    • Thank you!! My goodness, my adrenaline was pumping crazy, not sure how I got through it with success, so happy whew!! I floated on Cloud 9 the rest of the day for sure! 🙂

  2. What beautiful captures Donna of these cute little ones. Love the way they dive like possums. They look so much like our own baby wood ducks at that age.

    • Thank you, Ashley! It was truly a special delight, being there in the quiet and then to suddenly hear their chatter of excitement, AND then to see this! A blessed moment I will not forget!!

  3. How beautiful, you’ve captured such an important moment on the lives of these ducklings… when they fledged, all at once!. Great job, Donna! Keep up the good work. 🙂 👍

  4. Oh how exciting!!! I saw video of ducklings fledging on an episode of “Nature” on PBS. How lucky you were to witness this in person! Fantastic pictures, Donna! The picture of #6 pondering is especially sweet. 😊

    • I, too, had only seen this happen in a nature video. It was so exciting to see it unfold as well as hear the excited chatter of the ducklings. Wish I could have recorded them, it was truly delightful. Little #6 didn’t have long to ponder, I imagine one or two got bumped out from the ones still trying to get out from behind. 😊

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