The Bottom Line: A unique wildlife encounter

Ben Stoterau
The wood duck hen  is out in front of her eight young ones as they make their way down South Minnesota Street in Redwood Falls and back towards the Redwood River.

Early Wednesday morning (June 10) I glanced out my back window and saw something that I had never seen before.

It was a mother wood duck and her eight young ones walking through my backyard on West Chestnut Street here in Redwood Falls.

Unfortunately for Mom, she couldn’t figure out how to get over/through my chain linked fence, and she paced back and forth for well over an hour trying to figure it out as her little ones patiently followed her around.

She was able to find a safe place early on in between some lilac bushes and the fence.

She finally discovered there was an opening near one of the main fence posts that she could get through, and they were on their way.

The male wood duck (drake) is widely known for its beauty, but the female wood duck (hen) is also a unique bird with pretty markings on its head and wings.

Wood duck populations were in trouble at one time in Minnesota due to habitat loss, but biologists now believe more than 100,000 wood ducks breed in the state each spring.

They like to nest in hollow trees and usually lay about 10 to 15 eggs during the spring.

Hatching takes place close to a month later, and the ducklings begin to fly approximately eight to 10 weeks after hatching.

Just another reminder to keep your eyes open to many of the wonderful outdoor experiences awaiting us in our beautiful state.