While in her backyard in Jupiter, Florida, photographer Laurie Wolf was simply inspecting all the birdhouses she and her family put together in previous years. However, she could not believe her eyes when she saw something moving inside one of the birdhouses.
Wolf noticed a mother wood duck trying to move her egg and flew toward another.
“The mother duck removed the egg from one of our nesting boxes and flew toward this other box with it in her bill,” Wolf told Bored Panda in interview. “We believe that the duck moved the egg because that nest had been raided – there were eggshells at the bottom of the pine tree where the box is.”
After a day or two, Wolf saw a screech owl go into the box where the egg is. A month later, a duckling appeared!
“I’m sure the owl hatched the duck egg because she was in the box with it for a whole month,” Wolf said.
Wolf started to get concerned that the owl might eat the chick, so she called a bird expert immediately to assess the situation. A wildlife sanctuary near her home agreed to look after the duckling. When a volunteer tried to catch the mother duck, it jumped right out of the box and ran to the nearby pond.
“A bit later, the baby duck was in the hole by itself, calling for the parents,” Wolf shared on a Facebook post. “We believe they heard each other, because it suddenly left the box and made a beeline for the back fence and our neighborhood’s pond where the woodies have been hanging out.”
Christian Artuso, the Manitoba director of Bird Studies Canada, told National Geographic that instances of wood ducks living with screech owls have been documented in the past, but it’s not that common. He also studied about it back in 2005 for his Ph.D.