If you go down to the canal today…Wood Duck
.. you’re sure of a big surprise. Well, a pretty one anyway.
Walkers on the Grand Canal Dublin may have noticed a particularly bright duck sitting quietly or chasing other ducks agressively. It is incredibly coloured and doesn’t seem suited to our weather – which of course it isn’t. It is a male Wood Duck. an American species similar to the Mandarin Duck often seen in zoos and other forms of captivity. This one may have escaped from some collection. A few years ago a pair, male and female, appeared in the Botanic gardens but the male dissappeared quite quickly, later followed by the male.
‘Our’ male has taken a shine to one of the female Mallards that are common on the canal and seems to accompany her everywhere. His very calm demeanour belies his extreme aggression to any other ducks that get near to his ‘mot’. He probably won’t last long here. His undoing could come from his apparent tolerance for human presence, from some of the other ducks getting fed up with his aggression or from the many predators – animal or sub-human – that make this part of the canal a very risky place. Or he might just go! While he’s here he is worth seeing.