Wood Duck Nesting Boxes
If you are passionate about your pond or water garden, you are probably also passionate about the wildlife that lives there. So let’s take a few moments to discuss a subject that has nothing to do with the quality of the water in your pond, but everything to do with our love of nature.
Why a Birdhouse?
You love to see the birds and ducks around your pond and are eager to see them thrive in their habitat. Although unable to dig their own cavities, some species of duck nest in trees that have holes caused by lightning, tree disease, or frequented woodpecker action.
Nevertheless, each year under the effect of deforestation, the nesting sites of Wood ducks and other species enjoying the same habitats become rarer. By installing a nesting box near your pond or lake, you will be able to enjoy the company of these natural species which once established, return each year. Which species will be interested in my nest box? Here are some species:
- The Wood duck (Aix sponsa);
- the Common Goldeneye;
- the Crowned Merganser;
- the American Kestrel;
- the Little Duke;
- the Tree Swallow;
- the Starling.
What location for my nest box?
Choose a quiet place (especially from mid-April, duck nesting period), located near an adult forest (trees 30 cm and more in diameter at breast height) flooded or near a body of water. The ideal is to choose an isolated tree to prevent intruders such as squirrels and raccoons from accessing the nest box through neighboring trees. Nest boxes can be placed up to 50 to 100 meters from a body of water within the forest, as at this distance, the ducks are quieter during the nesting phase. This allows the ducks not to be disturbed during the nesting period.
When the nest box is installed on a tree, it is preferable to choose a tree with a single trunk. You can group the nesting boxes in groups of 2 to 5 in the most suitable places. You must wait at least 3 years before making any changes to the location. Indeed, it is sometimes this period of time that it takes before the ducks settle permanently in a vacant nest box.
The period of occupation of the nesting box may be shorter because it depends on the quality of the site, the location and the maintenance that is done to the nesting boxes.
When and how to install the birdhouse?
The best season to set up a nest box is winter, as lakes and ponds are frozen over and trees are easily accessed directly from the ice. The nest box should be installed between 5 and 7 meters high on a healthy tree. The nest box should be fixed with nails and tilted slightly forward to facilitate drainage. The bottom should be lined with wood chips (8 to 10 cm high) and the inside of the nest box has grooves that will allow the young to escape from the nest. If you don’t see ducks in the first year of setting up the nest box, don’t be discouraged … ducks are picky, and it can take up to three years for a nest box to be permanently occupied. On the other hand, once installed, they will come back every year …