Wood Ducks visit the Brighton millpond often, but I’ve never seen them with their young in my seven years observing them. I saw a hen and three very young ducklings at the north end of the pond Tuesday evening. It wasn’t until I got closer I realized they were Wood Ducks. Two LDS elders serving on a mission in Brighton told me they had seen four ducklings with the hen on Monday. Because of their size, I’m guessing the youngsters hatched three days ago.
In 2015, a Wood Duck nested in a tree near the gazebo, but the family wasn’t seen on the pond. A predator may have discovered the nest before the hatch date. Unlike the Mallards and other dabbling ducks in residence who nest on or near the ground, Wood Ducks nest in hollow trees and nest boxes built by humans. They prefer secluded woodland ponds and are usually very skittish. It’s surprising to find them raising a family in the middle of our city and quite a tribute to the environmental quality of the pond.