Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Waterfowl Nest Boxes

Last Sunday I put up 7 waterfowl nest boxes around Maxwell Lake and the lower Happy Creek beaver ponds. Two boxes are close to the observation towers, in the hope that if a duck uses them her comings and goings will be observable from the towers. The rest of the boxes were put in quieter spots, where a duck hen might feel more comfortable setting up housekeeping without those curious human eyes close at hand.

Which species might use the boxes? The common goldeneye and bufflehead are the 2 most likely to take up residence. Both species always use Maxwell Lake during the spring migration period and might decide to stay and raise a family. If we're fortunate, maybe Barrow's goldeneye or hooded merganser might show up, and at an outside chance (pretty low chance, I admit) maybe a wood duck. That's about it for cavity-nesting ducks, but we can also expect to see other species using the boxes. After all, a hole in a tree is a home to many. Small owls and squirrels will certainly take up at least temporary residence, and other species that like cavities like bats will likely use the boxes at times.

I meant to number the boxes but forgot until after I had the last one up. Next winter when I check them for signs of use and to give them a good cleaning I'll add the numbers. In the meantime, if you see any wildlife using the boxes, please let me know. I'll report here in the blog.

One last thing - it's been reported that some duck hens actually might select their nest site during fall migration the year before. So if we get no takers in 2010, there's always hope for next year!

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