A friend recently informed me that Wood Ducks were gathering and courting in his woodland pond. So I spent the night at his place and then recorded for about an hour at dawn. The resulting soundscape included lots of calling from both sexes. I was very pleased, so I contacted bird photographer Marie Read and asked if she’d be interested in providing images for an audiovisual creation … mixing her photographs and voice with my sounds. Gratefully, she accepted, and excitedly set up a blind on the pond in order to get additional photos for her collection.

I hope you enjoy the result. Marie’s beautiful photos are wonderful to behold, and her enthusiasm about Wood Ducks is apparent in her voice. What fun it was to do the mix in Final Cut Pro, where I made good use of the “Ken Burns Effect” to zoom in-and-out on the still images, helping to bring the slide-show alive with movement.

photo of Marie ReadYou may be surprised to learn that Wood Ducks court in October, but the fact is that nearly all our native ducks begin the process in the autumn and continue courting and forming pair-bonds through the winter months.

The sounds of the male and female Wood Ducks are easy to tell apart. The females make loud squealing calls sounding like oo-week, oo-week. The males make soft wheezing whistles that rise in pitch: jeeeb or ji-ihb. One also hears rapid chattering at times; I’m not sure which sex is producing that, but it seems to occur during excited interactions.

As always, I’d love to hear from you … please comment below and let me know what you think of all Wood Duck images and sounds!

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