Ducks in a tree – getting to the bottom of it

My laptop’s desktop is crowded with folders of bird photos. I started my lifetime bird list several months ago, and then fell way behind in posting the photos. I hope to catch up little by little in the coming weeks.

One of my folders I titled “Ducks in a tree.”

I first saw ducks in the trees in March of 2010, our first spring in this house. I assumed they were Mallard ducks, and the poor quality photo I managed to take did little to discount that theory.

I saw the ducks in the trees again this year and I was going to put together a post with recent Mallard duck photos from my walks at the Voice of America park, and my photos of the ducks in the tree that I took about a month ago.

This time I was using my new zoom lens, and the ducks accommodated me by landing in a big Sycamore tree close to our house.

I’m not bird expert, as you’ve probably guessed by now, but even I could tell upon closer examination that this duck with its white markings did not look like the Mallard ducks I had photographed at the VOA.

This explains to some degree why people were surprised that I saw ducks in the trees. I’m not sure Mallard ducks perch in trees.

But Wood Ducks do. And if you look closely at my photo from 2010, you can see the white diagonal marking on the side of the male duck in the tree. I believe this is the same pair who stopped here before, although I’m pretty sure the garden inspectors I posted about in March are Mallard Ducks.

Like most species, the female Wood Duck isn’t nearly as colorful, although she does wear an interesting mask.

I’m wondering what the feet look like, but from here they look like regular webbed duck feet. It’s amazing that they can stand in the trees.

The female moved around a little bit, gradually getting closer to the male.

I love this photo where she flies up to join him.

It almost seemed like they were speaking to each other. And if truth be known, like most other creatures, they must have a way to communicate. I love watching animal pairs, animal parents, and animal families. Amazing.

Here’s one for my lifetime bird list.

41 thoughts on “Ducks in a tree – getting to the bottom of it”

  1. This is so incredible!! I’ve never seen a duck in a tree; it’s such an interesting find — I had to look it up in my book, of course, and it says that it’s one of the only duck breeds that will perch in trees. This is so cool you got a pic of them, Christine!!

    1. I totally agree…I’ve never seen a duck in a tree. Never even thought of them taking flight…duh!? Where have I been? Can I continue to use “growing up in Maui” as an excuse? No ducks there. Guess not. I have been living on the mainland since 1976.

      again, i agree with julia…cool pics… 🙂

      1. It’s good to see you back around Hugmamma.

        I think you can use growing up in Maui for any excuse you’d like.

    2. I had a pair of mallards land in a tree behind my house yesterday, that is why I searched to find out if it was common. I didn’t get a photo but I did have someone with me to witness it. I was very surprised to say the least.
      Scott Palmer, Amston, CT

  2. This is both a great post and a great title! Who ever heard of ducks perching in trees? It amazes me. You’ve been posting some wonderful stuff recently, Christine! Congrats!

    1. I was amazed when I first saw it our first spring here. At first they just looked like a big, bulky birds, so they caught my eye. And then I realized they were ducks. I thought the ducks were a little whacky. Thanks for your kind words, Kathy.

  3. Oh how wonderful. I knew they couldn’t be mallards – those I’m very familiar with. Had momma and 6 ducklings swim down the river to wish me happy birthday this morning. I have never ever seen wood ducks, only pictures. thank you for sharing this marvelous find with us.

  4. The photos are beautiful, and the comments are instructional and emotional, all at the same time. Yes, couples of all species communicate in some way, don’t they? I love imagining what your two wood ducks are saying…

  5. Oh, WOW. I’ve never seen a duck in a tree, either. What an incredibly COOL find, Christine. So glad you got that zoom lens so you can share with us. Fabulous; what cool birds (and love that shot of her flying up to him). I saw mallards for the first time in years, just this past weekend — as you can imagine, ducks aren’t big in the desert. But we went to Mt. Lemmon (might higher elevation) and saw a mama with 8 ducklings, plus another pair of mallards. Forgot how much Iliked ducks!

    1. I just came back from a walk at the VOA this morning and captured little baby ducks with their mother on camera. What little darlings. I’m glad you have a place to go to see the ducks.

  6. Great shots of the wood ducks, Christine. I do remember seeing them in a tree at The Living Museum, now that you brought them to my attention; didn’t think much about it at the time. I also love the shot of her flying up to the branch.

  7. I saw a Wood Duck in a tree last fall. I had never seen a duck in a tree and thought it was amazing. But I guess Wood Ducks perch. Who knew?

    How is your husband doing? I am having bi-lateral surgery on the 5th and really enjoyed your insight on his surgery. Thanks Virginia

    1. I’m glad I’m not seeing things. I sure didn’t know.

      My husband is like he never had the surgery. He does whatever he wants to do: gardens, painted our bedroom, helped move our daughter. The doctor gave him full clearance said he can do whatever he wants that doesn’t involve running. He accidently knelt on them the other day and was pleasantly surprised. He feels sooooo much better than he did the last two years.

      Good luck with your surgery. It might be tough at first, but be brave and do everything the therapists tell you too. Let me know how it goes.

  8. We had ducks in one of our trees (Mississippi) just yesterday morning 3/8/14!! I posted it on Facebook and my friend sent me this link to your site! I had NEVER seen ducks of any kind, in a tree either until yesterday! We thought they were Mallards because of their size! They were huge! Maybe they were wood ducks though, I just don’t know! So glad to find our that someone else has seen this too! Love your blog too!

    1. I know how you felt. I couldn’t believe it when I first saw them either. They’re very cool with interesting markings. Maybe you will be able to get a picture sometime. They have been back here several springs in the five years we’ve been here.

  9. Debbie April 2015

    I am glad I ran across your site. I have been searching for the right duck and thanks to you now know we have a male wood duck living in our trees. Your picture of the male is exactly like our duck. We live in Tomball Texas and it is really amazing. This male has been around for 2 weeks. So far we see no female, but he does play with the cardinals.

  10. We have lived on a lake for 5 years now and over the past few days we have been noticing ducks sitting in our tree. We have never noticed this in previous years and I was curious about it. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this post and am now excited to see them again and take some pictures to see if they are the same kind of duck. They seem smaller than a typical mallard from a distance but I will have to get my zoom lense out and try to get some pictures. Thanks for the post.

  11. I lLive in Tampa and we got those big ducks with the red on their head and never seen before a whole bunch of them are flying in our tree I’ve never seen ducks in trees before I thought maybe there was something on the ground that was scaring them

  12. April 25, 2018. West central Wisconsin. Pair of Wood ducks in tree this a.m. Thought it was oddest thing but apparently not unusual at for Wood ducks.

  13. Hey Christine. I too had never seen ducks in a tree before, until this morning. I thought I was crazy. Thanks for this post. Such beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.


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