I took advantage of a beautiful, sunny, day to walk out on the frozen lake and install a third Wood Duck box. I also cleaned out the other boxes from this past season.
The boxes are situated a few feet above water level and approximately 15 to 20 feet from the shoreline. This helps deter box-raiding critters such as raccoons and black bears. The boxes are mounted on long cedar poles that were cut from a friend’s cedar swamp. The poles were installed last winter through a hole in the ice made with an ice auger. It’s a lot easier to install and maintain the boxes during the winter when one can walk right up to them on the ice.
Our two boxes were occupied throughout the nesting season this past summer. One box was used by Wood Ducks and the other by Hooded Mergansers – which can fit through the recommended opening for Wood Ducks. A quick check in canoes this summer (prior to the babies being old enough to flush), revealed successful hatches in both boxes.
Upon opening the door on the box that housed Hooded Mergansers, I was surprised to find 2 eggs that had not been viable. They were tucked into the duck down / wood shaving mixture a bit. I pulled them out and set them on top for this photo. The shells of the successfully hatched eggs are visible also. I hope we have another successful season of housing ducks this coming summer!