Once the annual mating, nest preparation, and raising of chicks is complete, the male Wood Duck takes on the drab colors of his “eclipse” phase. Over the following months, however, he develops the spectacular colors you see here, designed to attract a mate and start the cycle over again.
Wood Ducks are common in the Pacific Northwest. They are often skittish around humans, but in some settings they become more acclimated and less shy around people, as was the case with this individual, who’s all dressed up and ready to start a new family.
This is one of my favorite shots of a Wood Duck, taken in Seattle from my mini-kayak.