Wood Duck Box Conservation

April 1, 2013
Spring Cleaning One of the first GameKeeper tasks after duck season, is too clean the old shavings out of your wood duck boxes and replace them with fresh shavings. Your local farm store and even Wal-Mart has cedar shavings and they are not very expensive. One twenty pound bag will refresh approximately15 boxes. While it's still cold, it is safe to reach in and clean out the boxes which can be home to giant wasp nests and even the occasional egg eating snake (if you don't have predator guards). One trick I've learned it to stick my cell phone camera in and take a picture before reaching in to the unknown. Across the Wood Ducks range, natural nesting sites are becoming harder to come by. These beautiful ducks nest in cavities found in wetland environments and by assisting them with a well designed duck box you can help nature. But its imperative that you annually clean them out and refresh the nesting material. Once you start you have to keep it up and every few years you need to expand and add a few new boxes. Wood Ducks are a real conservation story. At the turn of the century woodies were almost extinct. But today through proper management the populations are higher than ever. In Mississippi we were recently allowed to harvest three woodies a day. Who doesn't love to hear them whistle through the decoys at daylight? The drakes colorful head sparks conversation of awe and appreciation inside the blind with each bird bagged. Set up a few wood duck boxes when you can. Plan ahead for next year. When a hen decides to call it home it'll make you proud.
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