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 Wood Duck

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Wood Duck.

Use the links below to view the Wood Duck reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Wood Duck sightings.
Wood Duck Archives Reports
Fall 2003 155
Spring 2003 154
Winter 02-03 9
Fall 2002 280
Summer 2002 100
Spring 2002 218
Winter 01-02 15
Fall 2001 86
Summer 2001 25
Spring 2001 172
Winter 00-01 11
Fall 2000 184
Summer 2000 25
Spring 2000 285
Winter 00-99 10
Fall 1999 258
Spring/Summer 1999 14

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Wood Duck

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Wood Duck
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Wood Duck
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Aix sponsa (Linnaeus)
Wood Duck

Summer resident, fairly numerous locally.

First recorded for Michigan by Sager (1839: 417).

In the last century, the Wood Duck as a breeding species was apparently very common and fairly well distributed (Gibbs, 1879: 494; N. A. Eddy, 1884: 41; A. J. Cook, 1893a: 41; Barrows, 1912: 88-89). Hunting, as well as reduction of breeding sites in many places, greatly decreased the population, but with legal protection it has increased steadily so that now the Wood Duck breeds in a number of areas in both peninsulas.

SPRING.-Migration is reported principally in late March and April in the southern counties, and in late April and May in the Upper Peninsula. Usually very few, but occasionally many dozens, are seen together.

Lower Peninsula.-The earliest arrival date at Petersburg, Monroe County, was March 15, according to Jerome Trombley (Bent, 1923:171), and in the vicinity of Detroit, March 25 (1907), reported by Swales. In the Ann Arbor region, where the species is fairly common in spring, N. A. Wood saw a flock of 20 as early as February 17 (1890), but arrival has been mainly reported there in the last week of March and in the first half of April. In open winters Gibbs (1889: 189) recorded arrival in late February in Kalamazoo County, and F. W. Rapp later (1931:4) recorded it there as a rare transient from March 21 to April 15.

Upper Peninsula.-The Wood Duck has been uncommon in spring at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County (Christofferson saw a male there on May 2, 1928, that stayed for 10 days); at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, Christofferson noted a male on April 19, 1938, and has on other occasions reported arrival in late April.

SUMMER.-Nesting begins in southern counties before the first of April, and in the Upper Peninsula as early as the last week of April or the first �week of May.

Lower Peninsula.-A nest with eggs was found in Oakland County in late April, 1904 (Blain, 1904o; 91). In the Ann Arbor region, nests were found each year until 1909; a female with brood of young was reported on April 25, 2023 (N. A. Wood and Tinker, 1910: 131), and another on July 6, 2023 (N. A. Wood). This duck doubtless nests in the Waterloo area of northeastern Jackson County, where numbers are noted in the summer (0. H. Clark). In Convis Township, Calhoun County, Walkinshaw found a nest on June 15, 1940, from which 10 young hatched, and a female with 8 fledglings on July 18,1937. The Wood Duck is a common nesting species at many of the wooded streams in southwestern Michigan, including tributaries of the Muskegon River (Pirnie). From the Swan Creek Wildlife Experiment Station near Allegan, Allegan County, where several summer specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been collected, Durward L. Alien reported 30 to 50 Wood Ducks on August 9, 1938. At Sand Point, Huron County, N. A. Wood and Gaige (1911: 279) recorded flocks on August 10 and a few birds on August 22; specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected on both dates. Near Crystal Lake, Benzie County, David E. Davis recorded 11 fledglings on July 15, 1934. On Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, T. D. Hinshaw and R. E. Morrill observed several individuals and collected one (U.M.M.Z.) on July 16,1937.

Upper Peninsula.-Nests or broods have been found sparingly in most of the counties, from Neebish Island vicinity, Chippewa County (nest with 14 eggs early in July about 1914, seen by Magee), to the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (regular breeder; broods found June 15 and 19, reported by Christy), and to Iron County (adults with 11 young on July 21, 1938, reported by John L. George and E. L. Patterson). As early as April 25 (1933) a pair nested near Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson) ; and by early July (1898) in Iron County (Kingsford, 1917: 335-36), a female was seen removing her brood from a cavity. There are no records from Isle Royale.

FALL.-Migration is reported mainly in September and October; the numbers seen are usually small, though in some places hundreds are not un- common.

Upper Peninsula.-The species is a rare fall transient in the Huron Mountain region, Marquette County (S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 173). At Blaney, Schoolcraft County, it is fairly uncommon; Christofferson has re- corded it there in fall until mid-September usually, and in 1932 until October 26. It congregates by the hundreds at beaver ponds on Drummond Is- land, Chippewa County, in late August and September (Pirnie, 1935: 16, 18; and notes).

Lower Peninsula.-Pirnie recorded 300 at one time in early September, 1928. at the Indian River marsh, Cheboygan County, as well as large numbers on the tributaries of the Muskegon River (Pirnie, 1935: 16, 18; and notes). The species was common from September 1 to 23, 1883, in Bay County marshes-"probably the larger part raised in the immediate vicinity" (N. A. Eddy, 1884: 41)-and especially common in the Flint River marshes, "a great home of the wood duck" (Mershon, 1923: 60, 64-65). On Wild- fowl Bay, Huron County, Pirnie took a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on October 1, 1929. At Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, F. W. Rapp (1931: 4) listed the species as a rare transient; he recorded it there from September 3 to December 6. In the Gull Lake area of the same county, Pirnie has found it rather common through September. This duck is a fairly common transient in the Ann Arbor region, where the latest departures are November 1, when a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected in 1901, and November 2 (1919), when N. A. Wood observed 2 birds at Portage Lake, Washtenaw County. For the Detroit vicinity, Swales' records include 2 birds shot as late as November 19 (1904). On September 13, 1932, Trautman and E. L. Wickliff noted 20 at the Erie marsh in Monroe County. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 186, 200) has observed the departure of most of the birds, on the average, by October 13.

WINTER.-There are a very few current records of individuals seen in the southern counties in winter, but there is no assurance that they are of strictly wild stock.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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