A Work of Art
Male Wood Ducks look “as if constructed in an artist’s studio,” said James Granlund, teacher and ornithologist from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
It is one of the most colorful, intricately patterned ducks in the world.
Which of the following are true concerning Wood Ducks? Choose all that apply.
a) It has toenails.
b) It can run up to 7 miles per hour.
c) It has the largest eyes of any waterfowl.
d) They turn their heads while flying.
If you think “all of the above” is the answer, you are right. Who knew? Naturalist and wildlife biologist John Eastman did. He describes Wood Ducks in his book Birds of Lake, Pond and Marsh: Water and Wetland Birds of Eastern North America. Wood Ducks have toenails that allow them to grip tree branches so they can perch in trees. They run faster than any other duck. Their large eyes help them to see better in low light. Not many birds turn their heads while flying, but Wood Ducks do turn their heads. Wood Ducks are not just a work of art on the outside. Their unique qualities reflect how they are amazingly crafted throughout.
 John Eastman, Birds of Lake, Pond and Marsh: Water and Wetland Birds of Eastern North America (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999), 39.