Monday, August 3, 2009

Maxwell Lake Ducklings

Good news! Last winter's break in the beaver dam that lowered Maxwell Lake about 50 cm and the very cool spring including a significant snowfall in early May didn't affect waterfowl reproduction in 2009. Right on cue in early July two ring-necked duck hens appeared with broods of ducklings. One hen had 6 little ones and the other had 3. A few weeks later two mallard hens also showed up with ducklings in tow. One mallard hen had 5 ducklings and the other had 4. The mallard ducklings were already fairly large when first seen, so they could have come down Happy Creek from the beaver ponds upstream.

Four broods of young ducks is about normal for Maxwell Lake, and ring-necked ducks and mallards are the species that usually nest there. Buffleheads are fairly common spring visitors, so in an effort to encourage these cavity-nesters to stay and raise a family I'm going to put up several nest boxes this fall. Other cavity nesting ducks such as goldeneyes might also use the boxes, and many other species will find them useful. More about those in a future post.

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