Wood Ducks at Lynden II

March 27, 2015

This post is the second in a series by Junior Grounds Manager Weston Wagner tracking the behavior of wood ducks at Lynden. For part one, click here.

Wood duck nest box in the water

March 27, 2015 – The ice is now completely off the lake. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s warm. I read 20°F on the thermometer this morning. There was just enough wind blowing to prevent the lake from skimming over with ice. I checked for nesting activity in the wood duck boxes in the fields today. No signs of wood ducks but in one of the boxes there seemed to be some screech owl activity happening. Some owls, like wood ducks, are cavity nesters and would have no problem occupying a nest box designed for a wood duck. Although no nest boxes showed signs of activity, there is still time for things to develop. Once we get some consistently warmer weather things will start unfolding as they should, and before you know it we’ll be in the full swing of things.

Eastern screech owl

I saw two pairs of wood ducks yesterday. Once again, they were hanging out between the two nest boxes in the water. I haven’t seen them actually put the nest boxes to use yet but it seems like they are interested in that area. Every year this is the first place they show up. I haven’t had much of a chance to observe them because wood ducks are very skittish. As soon as they see you, they take off flying. It will be important to leave any wood ducks undisturbed so they can take time to establish the boxes as nesting sites. Predator protection is one of the most important parts of installing a wood duck box. If you have predators, including humans, constantly moving around the area where potential nest sites are available, chances are wood ducks won’t feel safe and might look for other locations to nest. This is probably why the most successful wood duck boxes here at Lynden have been the ones that are over water.

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