Wood Ducks usually come to the MS Delta around mid February and start looking for nest sites. Usually, good nest sites (including the man-made nest boxes) get used twice during the nesting season. One hen gets her brood hatched and another one cleans up the nest and gets busy making chicks. Usually, it’s all over by June.
I was walking in the woods behind the house and happened upon this pair, their nest site probably not far away. At about 40 yards, they tolerated my presence long enough for me to get off a few shots – with the camera. Water is held in the woods with two pipes with “flash board risers”. The risers have wooden boards which are installed in the fall to hold water and removed in April to allow water to flow out. Holding water too long can damage trees.
I’ve put up 5 wood duck boxes like the ones in the picture. These boxes saved the wood duck when their habitat was almost destroyed back during the clearing of the delta in the 1930’s. They still provide needed habitat but what you see in the picture here is the habitat where the wood duck thrives.
Pictured here is a wood duck box and a prothonotary warbler box on a small retention pond behind the house. After the first brood hatches out, I’ll clean out the duck box to check the number of eggs that hatched and to make sure there are no rotten eggs left over from the last hen. The next hen then moves in and begins laying eggs. Sawdust is added to the boxes each year for nesting material. Tree on right is near the box. Can you spot the male wood duck? He guards the box from a nearby location while the female sits on her eggs. What a blast whatching these guys each spring.