Where the Wood Duck Live

A flash of wing and eye is visible as a wood duck drake glides bySpring flooded Nahant Marsh with tangled, thick green vegetation as May and now June filled it with light and heat. The prairie is bright with flowers—the season has already begun its succession of blooms. This dense growth covers the lively creatures that live there. All those leaves, stems and petals obscures them from easy view.

Wood duck drake at Nahant MarshI imagine those lively creatures are comfortable with nice thick cover. The less they can be seen, the better they may like it. To look out over the intensely green marsh as summer arrives, is to wonder what may be living unseen there. As every year, wood ducks are part of the wetland community thriving in this place. Nahant Marsh is where they live.

Pair of wood duck drakes at Nahant MarshThe drakes are boldly marked, with bright spots of brilliant and iridescent color. Yet as striking as they appear, wood ducks are easy to miss. They are shy and quick to take wing. The thick green of the woods and marsh covers them well. They do not wish to be seen, nor to get too close to dangerous people. But they do live there. If I wait quietly by the water I see them fairly regularly.

Wood duck mom at Nahant Marsh says keep away from my babiesDrakes and hens and ducklings that grow with breathtaking speed, I see them all from time to time—if I am still. The hens, more subtle, are patterned in lovely browns. They have patches of iridescence hidden on their wings, and always there is a white teardrop shape encircling each eye.

Wood duck hen appears to laugh while sitting on a log at Nahant MarshThe ladies had seemed to disappear for a while, and for a time I saw mostly drakes. No doubt the hens were sitting on eggs. But now the baby wood ducks have rained down unseen from their nests, and are out on the water. It seems to take only a day or two before they are the size of their dainty parents. It does take a little longer than that, of course, but the youngsters do grow amazingly fast.

As every year, Nahant Marsh is producing more wood ducks. Wood ducks live there. They find food, shelter and a place to raise the next batch of wood ducks in relative safety. You may see them or you may not, but without a doubt, they are there, living out the season comfortably in the dense summer green at the marsh.

Morning light catches on the iridescent patches of a wood duck drake


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