National Geographic : 1962 Apr
Yellow warbler guards his brood in an arrowwood bush near the pond. Though a feeding has just ended, the nestling's open mouth shows it is still hungry. During the mating season, male warblers sing almost con stantly. Later, as they help feed the young, they seldom give voice to song. see the waterfowl clearly, and movements in the room do not frighten the birds. A few of the waterfowl are pinioned - that is, we remove from one wing the bone with the longest flight feathers. After that the bird is unable to fly. Such birds serve as decoys to show the newcomers where the food is. During the migratory seasons some pintails, teals, and baldpates may stay an hour or a day. Mergansers, finding plenty of minnows because we stock the pond well, may stay a week. Some black ducks and mallards, and occasionally wood ducks, stay all year round. The cracked corn never runs out, and in win ter an electric agitator keeps a hole open in the ice so the birds can drink. Once, when the wintering flocks reached nearly 500 black ducks and mallards and the temperature dropped to 400 below zero, this hole was hardly larger than a drinking foun tain. Our refuge manager, my son David G. Allen, had to enlarge it often. Each year we look forward to the middle 536 of June. The pond is rejuvenated then by KODACHROMESBY FREDERICKK. TRUSLOW(UPPER LEFT) AND NATIONALGEOGRAF many families of goslings and ducklings, after having been deserted for weeks while the fe males were incubating. The little flotillas are most conspicuous during early mornings and evenings (preceding page). However, a new wood duck family is likely to show up almost any time of day. As we count the little pow der puffs, we are not always certain to which mother they belong. Trails Lead Visitors Through Woods Despite predators and disease, some fam ilies survive remarkably well. Last year a fe male wood duck brought 16 youngsters to the feeding area when they were only a few days old. We watched all 16 grow from their downy nestling plumage, through juvenile feathers, into brilliant winter attire. Like the changing seasons and the chang ing foliage, the panorama of bird life is never monotonous, and the great windows onto Sapsucker Woods announce all the exciting changes to those of us who have had the good fortune to spend our days behind them.