Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24: Wood Duck

A birder friend visiting Orlando, Florida, emailed today that she gotten her first long looks at a male wood duck in breeding plumage. Her exact words were: "Holy #%&@!" Here's what he looks like, so you can understand her justifiable excitement:
Photo credit: Arjan Haverkamp for Wikimedia Commons
He's really a flamboyant bird, one of the more colorful in North America. You couldn't make that bird up if you tried, even if you went at it with crayons in a coloring book. I was one of the Maine judges for the Junior Duck Stamp contest this spring, and a lot of the young artists chose the wood duck as their subject. I think they enjoyed being able to use all those colors--so much more dramatic than the understated plumage of most waterfowl. And I just learned that the official duck stamp for 2012-13 will be a wood duck, painted by artist Joseph Hautman.

My friend suggested I write a wood duck haiku. Having spent the whole day in a not unpleasant but certainly not poetically inspiring class on volunteer management, I was happy to oblige her. (Thanks for the poetic nudge, Cathy! I hope you see more exciting bird life while you're in warmer climes.)

Holy s**t! Wood duck!
Is his gaudy plumage real?
I can't stop looking.

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