Watch as tiny wood ducklings try to outwit a photographer.

This morning I saw a late hatch of wood ducklings with their mother. Wood ducks often raise two broods per summer in this area, but given the timing, it’s probable these were the result of a renesting attempt after a failed first nest. The hen had only five young, when a normal clutch may be more than a dozen.

They were spooky. The hen and young moved quickly away, and when I followed, they scattered into the weeds. A few of the ducklings tried to stay with their mother no matter where she went, and they zipped across the surface with surprising speed. Given their light weight, they could sprint with their webbed feet and actually run atop the surface. Slow motion shows how they did it.   Once separated from mom, the young ducklings were naturally cagey. I stood still, watching the heavy weeds, and soon saw a couple of the little woodies with just their heads protruding from the water. When they saw I was onto them, they slipped under and swam away unseen.

That’s pretty slick, if it weren’t for snapping turtles lurking in the same pool. One of those little guys sneaking around alone, trying to foil a photographer, could easily blunder into a waiting predator. Pretty soon, momma flew back to gather her tribe, and I left them to regroup and use her savvy skills to help the ducklings stay alive.

Watch the video here: