Wood ducks are the most colorful waterbirds native to North America. And one of the great things about cold weather here in Boulder is that they come here in winter.
But when the weather turns as cold as it’s been here lately, their options are limited. They need open water, because they are ducks, and need trees nearby because woods are their habitat. In Boulder I know of only two suitable places for them, Boulder Creek, which runs through downtown Boulder, and Tantra Lake, which is right in front of my apartment. A few miles away in Wheat Ridge is another preferred habit along Clear Creek, another waterway that is big enough and fast flowing enough that stays free of ice in places.
This winter one male wood duck has been hanging out with a large group of mallards in Boulder Creek. This lone male has been waiting months for a female to find him here.
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One of the special things about wood ducks is how they can stretch their necks. A few days ago I went back to Boulder Creek to look for this guy, and he was looking into the water for something to eat or drink.