“October Grape Robbers”…Wood Ducks!


No other waterfowl species’ sheer beauty is referred to as much as the magnificent American wood duck, a flying palette of color! The wood duck or “woodie” is also most likely to appear on the sportsman’s wall or mantle as a mount, more so than almost any other ducks. Wood ducks were brought from the precarious edge of extinction in the early twentieth century to today’s increasingly large numbers. Individuals and sportsman’s groups alike have constructed nesting boxes and successfully restored vital habitat all across their breeding range, insuring stable and growing populations of this popular gamebird. Today the wood duck flourishes and even an increase in bag limits compliments the fine work of the conservationists. But, but, one little fact is not as well know about this duck. They are grape robbers! Yes, autumn grapes, big, sweet and juicy, purplish red, ripe, fresh on the vines! My call illustrates just this in “The North American Collection”. The woodies here have discovered a bounty of fresh, wild grapes as they twist and turn, flying through the massive sycamore trees, dodging branches as they go. The sycamores with their white, peeling or scaling bark wrapped with wild delicious grapes and their vines are a smorgasbord for the wildfowl as they gorge themselves on the plentiful fruit they squeal with delight! The hen even steals away a cluster of grapes in her bill! A nesting box, a high-rise home, attached to one of the great trees, perhaps served a pair well last spring. Autumn progresses and the giant green leaves of the sycamores give way to a more burnt orange coloring. October also finds the seed balls on the limbs beginning to mature, ready for a new circle of life to start in the spring.  It is at this time the wild grapes also begin to ripen on the vine and then start to naturally ferment. I have often wondered if this is why wood ducks, maybe a little tipsy, fly so erratic. The insert i have created is my accolade to the wood ducks with a sampling of their gorgeous feathering, both drake and hen alike. A look at the wild grapes shows their unique colors, purplish red with hints of green still showing. Autumn showcases October’s grape leaves hues, yellow with ever creeping rust edges, may only be upstaged by the brilliant colors of the autumn tree leaves. The tendril, the little stringy vines that attach themselves and help hold the grape’s larger vines to the sycamore trees, accents this call to its complete perfection!

I so hope you enjoy this call!

Joe Bucher


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