I’ve loved wood ducks, arguably the most beautiful of waterfowl, since I discovered them on a childhood adventure. Adjacent to our house was 80 acres of tangled briar and scrub and forest. Apparently it had once been the gardens for a large estate including a pond, a summer cabin and other things that seemed very attractive to a young boy. We had the run of the neighborhood, but were told never to play there. Mrs. Gould, the aging owner, had asked my mother to keep an eye on things.
One snowy Thanksgiving, my grandfather was itching to get out of the house. In silence we walked around the tangles and threaded through the briars and came across the pond. The tall snow dusted white pines were mirrored on its surface.
The following spring, a Kodak 110 in hand, I went back alone to capture the ponds beauty. I pushed through the ring of trees and spotted a half dozen wood ducks floating on its surface. Before then wood ducks were something I’d only seen in my bird books. Seeing these birds was much like seeing a unicorn for this young boy.
I snapped a few photos — long lost, now. The ducks are distant, tiny dots.
Woodies are a common sight now. I see them on the rivers of Indiana and on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The sound of them rising from the water has become familiar. They are a beautiful bird.
This drake is carved from white pine with steel tack eyes. He is mounted on a steel rod. The base is made from wood reclaimed from antique crates and a birch branch brought back from the trail. He is 9 1/2″ l x 4″ w x 9 1/2″