Feb
13
Photo via Flickr user TexasEagle - http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/

Wood Ducks on Jekyll Island

3744563962_89c74971ba_z

Photo via Flickr user Larry Mead – http://www.flickr.com/photos/34323709@N07/

[Feature photo via Flickr user TexasEagle - http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/]

Article by Yank Moore, Conservation Technician

Jekyll Island Authority

Wood ducks are often considered one of the most stunning waterfowl that inhabits our coastal waters. They are a medium sized perching duck, with the males showing an ornate chestnut and green iridescent pattern on nearly every feather. The females are not quite as colorful, having a light to dark brown body with white patches around the eye and on the throat. They can often be found in wooded swamps, shallow lakes, and even our local marshes. These birds can be seen year round in Georgia with a spike in numbers during the winter months when northern populations migrate south to avoid the cold weather.

WoodDuckNestBoxWood ducks have been hunted throughout modern history for their taste and beauty. They were traded throughout Europe in the late 1800s, where they were being used to boost the ornamental hat market. In the early 1900s, the American populations of wood ducks were nearly extinct throughout their entire range. This along with the destruction of other migratory populations ultimately led to the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916 and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Since then wood duck populations have grown slowly, with the help of conservationists and natural resource managers, to what we encounter today.

3347521413_b628a5e6f3_z (1)

Photo via Flickr user Kevin Cole – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevcole/

Wood ducks are naturally cavity nesters that rely on other animals or nature to hollow out a hole in a dead or dying tree near water before they can move in to nest. Since these birds have such specific requirements for nesting, conservationists have helped this beautiful species make a comeback by building nesting boxes.

Here on Jekyll Island our conservation staff recently built and installed three wood duck boxes made of natural western cedar. We’ve placed these boxes around the island and they can be seen by anyone with a since of adventure and a pair of binoculars. The first is on the west side of Horton Pond across from Villas by the Sea. Also at this location, you can expect to find hooded mergansers and pied-billed grebes. The second location is tucked away in a pond on Indian Mounds hole 14, a location that we hope will contribute to our efforts to gain Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certification for the course. The third and final location was chosen for an educational opportunity as much as a conservation effort and can be found on the nature trail across Beachview Road from the 4H center in a willow-dominated freshwater slough. All of these locations provide suitable nesting habitat for wood ducks while offering an educational and aesthetic component to the overall natural feel of Jekyll Island.

From Our Blog

Apr
22

Marriott Hotels Approved for Jekyll Island

The Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors approved a hotel development proposal presented by Trammell Crow Company which will bring three hotels and up to 535 new hotel rooms to the island. The project will take place on the site of the former Buccaneer Beach Resort and Georgia Coast Inn. The former hotels, both built [...]

Apr
22

Apex will be released this weekend!

Apex is a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle that stranded on Little Cumberland Island on July 26, 2013. When Apex stranded, it was obvious why. He/she had been attacked by a large shark. Sharks are an apex predator of the oceans (hence the turtles name) and are one of very few natural predators of sea turtles. [...]

From Our Blog

Expert Bloggers

What better way to educate yourself on the beauty and opportunities for fun on Jekyll Island than from one of our knowledgeable staff members. Read Their Insights