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 - ducks.org|
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: www.ducks.org.
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!