Mar 8, 2015

The Eastern Bluebird and Nest Boxes

Well we still have 3 to 4 feet of snow still on the ground here in Northeast Connecticut but the day time temps are finally starting to climb.  According to the calendar spring is just 2 weeks away but I think we might be battling snow and ice for a few weeks after that.  But there is hope, especially when I get new visitors to my backyard like the Eastern Bluebird.

Taken March 2015 at my feeder

The male Eastern Bluebird is easily identifiable by their brilliant royal blue color and rust colored throat and neck while females will be more gray on the back with blue in the wings.  Definitely colors that catch your eye when bird watching. Bluebirds will visit your feeders and enjoy fruit, mealworms, peanut hearts and even suet.  They are truly a treat when they visit.

Eastern Bluebirds will start their nesting in early March and it is important to get your Bluebird nesting boxes built and installed early in the nesting season if you want to keep them around. has a downloadable set of Bluebird nesting box plans that makes this project a snap.

I hope you are lucky enough to have Bluebirds visit your backyard this year.

Feb 13, 2015

Wood Ducks and Boxes

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful ducks out there and by far my favorite duck to watch and hunt.  Fast agile flyers, bright colors and the unmistakable squealing sound are just a few characteristics that make them special to me.   I remember one overcast and misty morning when my son and I were out bowhunting deer and walking down a old logging trail only to have a dozen plus Wood Ducks explode out of a tree above us.  Since then both of us have been a fan of the Wood Duck.

With almost 50 inches of snow on the ground over the past few weeks and more on the way as well as unbearable single digit temps I need a indoor project so why not make some Wood Duck boxes.  Because Wood Ducks are perching ducks and cavity nesters, this offers up unique opportunities to lend a helping hand to your local populations. 

Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited -

Habitat loss has been and continues to be a leading contributor to waterfowl populations and the loss of bottomland hardwood forests was pushing the Wood Duck near extinction.   Female Wood Ducks typically build their nests in tree cavities near wetlands. They carefully inspect the site for a variety of characteristics, including size, shape and security from predators and the elements. In many areas, wood ducks have difficulty finding suitable natural nesting sites. Wood duck boxes provide a man-made alternative, where hens can nest in relative safety from predators. Creating a wood duck box and strategically placing it can draw birds into an area and create a local population. Location and proper maintenance are the keys to successfully assisting wood duck breeding habits in your area.

Photo Credit: Bruce Morrell - Pictures By Bruce

Finding a suitable site to place wood duck boxes can be challenging and you need to be aware of the following.
  • Suitable brood habitat must be available close by in order for ducklings to survive once they exit the box.  
  • Shallow, fertile wetlands with thick cover and an abundance of invertebrates typically provide the best habitat for broods. 
  • Wood Duck boxes should be erected on either wooden posts or metal poles outfitted with predator guards.

You can download wood duck box building instructions and learn much more about maintenance, placement, waterfowl ID, a ducks life cycle and other ways you can help conserve waterfowl and wetlands by visiting Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Biology Page.

You can also check into your local waterfowl organizations and chapters to see if they have a wood duck box building day like our Connecticut Waterfowlers Association will on March 14th from 10:100 am until 3:00pm at Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor.  you can get more information here:  CWA Wood Duck Box building day.

If you are not a member of Ducks Unlimited and would like to learn how you can help DU with their wetland and waterfowl conservation mission please check out there website at:

Now get your boxes built because I'm sure all this snow won't stick around forever and spring is just around the corner.  Well I hope it is!