Musical Trees with the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

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Last weekend at Orlando Wetlands Park, the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were having nesting territory disputes.  Or playing a game of Musical Trees.  Maybe both. ;-)

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

This is a typical scene at Orlando Wetlands.   The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks nest in the tops of the dead palm trees.  At this time of year, it’s not at all unusual to see the trees decorated with ducks.  Their cheerful calls echo across the wetlands and make everybody smile.

Except…

Count the eyes in the picture below.

Three's a Crowd!
Three’s a Crowd!

Three is a crowd!  At least three ducks were claiming this tree.  There was much wing-flapping involved.  Each bird would fly around trying to push the other birds off the tree.  It was very animated.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks Discussing Nesting Territory
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks Discussing Nesting Territory

When the competition got especially fierce, the birds took to the air to continue bickering.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Mid-Air Battle
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Mid-Air Battle

I’m not really sure who won.  The birds all seemed to lose interest in tree-hopping and flew off.  Maybe it was time to look for breakfast.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Pair

Want to learn more about nature photography at Orlando Wetlands Park?

Check out my Orlando Wetlands Park page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!

2 thoughts on “Musical Trees with the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

  1. Great pictures and story. In all my visits to Florida, I don’t think I’ve ever seen palm trees without tops like in your pictures. Very interesting.. Are they just in the wetlands of Orlando?

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