A special morsel
A special morsel

I wandered out into the garden one  spring morning and heard a soft clucking coming from high in a gum tree.  It was a goose like duck, which was soon joined by a wooing male. Such handsome birds.

They are Australian native wood ducks, and  mainly feed on grass and other vegetation.  Sometimes there are dandelions for dessert (if I have neglected my weeding).

The alternative name of Maned Ducks comes for the ‘mane’ of  chestnut brown feather on the neck of the male.

Such a handsome fellow and a fine 'mane'.
Such a handsome fellow and a fine ‘mane’.
Wood ducks a'wooing
Wood ducks a’wooing


Nesting in trees (as wood ducks do) has its benefits, especially if there are foxes about. However, the fledglings are forced to leave their downy nest and simply  topple to the ground in a true leap of faith.  It  must be rather  scary, but as they are so light and fluffy they rarely come to any harm.

Here is a you-tube video (not taken by me) of the whole  nesting process in a box attached to a tree

I was delighted when our little family  finally appeared down at the local pond.

Come in, time for a swim!
Come on, time for a swim!
There's always one!
There’s always one little rebel!
They will be cross if cars don't stop!
Mum and Dad  will be  very cross if the cars don’t stop!
Careful now little ones!
Careful now little ones!
Wood ducks All safely afloat.
All safely afloat.
Mother wood duck on golden pond
Mother wood duck.
On golden pond, two charming wood ducks.
Proud parents together on  Blackheath’s golden pond.

A  few days later a council worker told my husband that one little  duckling had been found dead in the nearby  public swimming pool. Oh dear, probably that wayward little blighter.

After that we didn’t see the family at all. We presumed that the chicks must have been taken by a fox. I refused to think that  my darling kookaburras would have eaten them.


A few days ago I walked down to Memorial Park. I wanted to take some photos of the giant rhododendrons.

Memorial Park
Tourists in Memorial Park.

I walked past the pond and to my great joy, there  were the  wood ducks!  Another youngster was missing, but still……..

The wood ducks are Nearly grown up, but still in parental care.
Nearly grown up, but still in parental care.

It had been unseasonably wet and windy for days. I could understand the family’s choice to soak up some sunshine rather than take a dip.

Wood ducks at Blackheath duck pond.
Soaking up the sunshine.

A couple more weeks and it will be difficult  to distinguish the youngsters from their parents.


We spent some time  this morning watching the family forage for greenery in the shallows and feeding around the swimming pool. Mother wood  duck was quick to ward off any intruding males with a hiss and a threatening lunge.

Good grazing. for wood ducks.
Good grazing. And no danger now.

Wood ducks mate for life.  I hope our breeding pair will produce  many more little families.  And  maybe they  will learn to keep the toddlers away from that damn pool.

Finally, I cannot resist including this wonderful photo  taken by Leigh Wilson. I count 15 little ducklings swimming along with their proud parents..

A family of Wood ducks.
A large and happy family. (photo credit Leigh Wilson)
Streamlined wood duck.
Reducing my wind resistance, Mate.

I think the female in the photo below wants to join the circus.

Wood duck on one leg.
Look, no wings, one leg!

The entertainment provided by the wood ducks is only rivaled  by our resident bowerbirds.


  1. Dear Pauline,
    Delightful, as usual. Thank you.😊👍💜

  2. Woodies are such lovely birds aren’t they! Enjoyed your story and photos as it brought back memories of when we lived on acres. Every year the resident Woodies would raise their family nearby, often as many as 12 ducklings. However by the time they were fully grown (only 7-8 weeks), the numbers were always very much reduced. A sad fact of nature unfortunately but if they all survived every year, we’d be overrun with ducks.

    • Pauline

      Yes, Christine…nature always finds a balance. They are so sweet.

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