Make Way For More Downtown Ducklings

Nest is busy on San Ramon Creek. Count this as the precursor to Earth Day (April 22) weekend.

Patch is coming at you soon with a bunch of outdoors activities (and don't forget that Earth Day is Sunday, April 22). The wood ducks have a head start.

Walnut Creek wood duck zealot Brian Murphy sent along these pictures of a wood box in the San Ramon Creek ravine in the Creekside area. He expects the ducklings will hatch in mid-May within a stone's throw of traffic clipping along at 70 mph on the Interstate 680 overcrossing.

"Clean the box and add fresh wood shavings —  they might produce a 2nd clutch!" wrote Murphy in an email.

In one photo, the hen is absent. "She’s out feeding and has 4-6 more days of laying eggs before she begins incubation of all the eggs. Wood ducks lay one egg a day until they have a clutch of 12 to 14 eggs, then start incubation so they all hatch at the same time."

The wooden boxes are made by Boy Scouts. The program is called Just For Ducks, out of the Mount Diablo Audubon Society.

Paula Miller April 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM
This is great news! We will be waiting for updates on the little ones come May.
Paula Miller April 12, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Lance, quick question......does it disturb the mama duck when photos are taken or is there a webcam in the box? Just curious as I would hate to see the mother frightened away by too much intrusion on her privacy. Please ask your Wood Duck guru for details. Thanks.
Lance Howland April 12, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Paula: Pretty sure it's not a webcam. I got a look last summer. I have confidence in Brian being the quietest, most respectful naturalist possible. Keep in mind that these ducks are putting up with a fair amount of noise all the time in that location -- kids walking home from Las Lomas, cars going by on South Main, cars going by on the freeway. Maybe Brian wants to weigh in with a comment here. -- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch
Paula Miller April 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Thanks Lance, but I really wasn't too worried about Brian being too intrusive and the webcam reference was in jest. I, for one, really appreciate Brian's efforts when it comes to the nurturing of the Wood Ducks and also for his education of all of your readers. I am still curious as to how tolerant the mama duck is of humans and would like to know more about them. Creatures such as the Wood Ducks who manage to survive living in a suburban area are just another reason that we are so fortunate to live in Walnut Creek!
Lance Howland April 12, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Shoot, Paula, I need to lighten up. It's a universal reaction, I realized, because when we were small, impressionable people and found an egg or a baby away from the nest, our mothers earnestly explained to us that we didn't want to get our human smell on the egg or baby because the mother might then be repelled. -- LDH, editor, Walnut Creek Patch


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