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.
You 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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love this. We watch them coming into the back water behind our pond every night. about 150 of them. We are hooked! the leaving in the morning, singly, pairs or small groups. We don’t get to see them gathered as the marsh prevents it, but our imagination has been ripe. Hamilton, Mass.
Excellent photography and the audio captured the wonderful sounds of the wood ducks. The combination results in a masterpiece of a 3 minute video. Thank you Lang and Marie!
I am a good friend of the guy who put that pond in on his property! He is a wonderful person
the wood ducks are singing out there right now. There were over 20 of them on the pond last week but now about 8-10. Soon they’ll all move on
I am glad I found this page, it is beautiful! I have noticed a few ducks in the Oaks behind my house (I just moved in a month ago) and could not figure out the species. Looked like a Woodie, but with the sun rising behind I was unable to get a clear view. This morning heard them and was certain they were woodies. Found your page and was able to see and hear for verification.
Thank you again.
Really nice. The Wood Ducks I find rarely let me get close so it is so nice to be able to see these photos. What an amazing color palette! I had no idea that I tend to hear the females calling. And what a strange call by the males.
Fantastic photos and the dog got very excited about the audio – lol!
As everyone has said, awesome presentation! But Marie needs an avatar photo!
I just added Marie’s pic to the post; I should have done that in the first place. There’s also a link to her website in the first paragraph.
Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. So glad you like the presentation. Lang’s recordings are terrific: you feel you are right there in the midst of the Wood Duck flock!
Great presentation you two. I have photographed them many times, but did not know that the calls were male and female oriented. Marie, you have a wonderful voice for narration to go with your work. The whole presentation takes me right to time and place. Congrats!
I think Marie’s voice sounds great, and I very much look forward to more audiovisual creations that feature both her voice and her amazing photographs.
I truly enjoy the sights and sounds of nature being captured . Wood ducks this morning was quite a wonderful surprise 🙂
This was wonderful, Lang…you and Marie make a great team!
Yes, I think we do!
Great job, you guys! What a wonderful way to display a series of stunning photos.
It certainly is a great way to share photos, bringing them alive with the subtle zooming effects and with a lively soundscape in the background.
This is just so so beautiful. Wonderfully put together. I could have listened for much longer. Thank you so much for what you do , Marie’s enthusiasm is for sure evident and I love the moving effect you added. Well done! -and appreciated :))
Excellent and Marie makes the perfect narrator as well as photographer!
I think Marie has a terrific voice!
This is glorious! In many frames the water colors are a stunning foil to those flashy guys (you now, the ones whistling at the girls!) Lang that gentle slide for and aft does create the sense of movement, and yet the stillness allows extended focus on rich detail that can succumb to normal movements. Lovely!
Glad to hear that you like it Sharon!
Beautiful in every way. Thanks for sharing.
You’re very welcome!
I have lots of old big tooth aspens on my northwestern wisconsin property and those nesting birds are extremely difficult to spot in the summer where they are nesting unless they are in view of my deck. You can see them fly by but where is very tough to find. Very clever birds.
Come to think of it, I’ve never found a nest …
Wonderful sounds and interpretation. Thank you!
great sounds, but nary a picture!
nary a picture? does that mean you’re not seeing the slide show?
Yes, I didn’t see a slide show, just a black box.
Very strange … apparently it’s working for others. Have you tried it a second time? Maybe a slow bandwidth problem?