Attach the back (1) to the side (2) using four screws fastened from the back of the wood duck box as shown below. Protect your eyes: Wear your safety glasses. A duck box may even attract other cavity nesting birds such as kestrels, tree swallows, great crested flycatchers or screech owls. These ducks build nests in abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities caused by disease, fire or lightning. The dimensions of the box should be large enough to hold 12 to 15 clutch eggs and hen. Cavity nesting ducks do not carry nesting materials. Cavity nesting ducks do not carry nesting materials. See our tips for building a predator guard and finding the right place to install. This too is a good reason to keep your boxes in top condition. Attach the roof (6) using four screws from the top and three screws from the back (be careful not to screw into the door). Don't have wood ducks in your area? Conical predator guards made of sheet metal are most effective. While many types and styles of wood duck boxes have been produced from a variety of materials over the years, those made from rough-cut lumber, like the original prototypes built by Hawkins and Bellrose, seem to work best. The horizontal slots will provide toe holds when the ducklings climb out. Cut it to the lengths shown at right. Improving water quality in Lake Mitchell S.D. Cypress is a great wood material that can withstand long-term weather conditions. However, the recovery of the wood duck was also assisted by the advent of artificial nesting structures, or wood duck boxes. Nesting sites for these birds are limited in number. Wood Duck Box Design. It's important to help them out by placing four to six inches of wood shavings in the bottom of the box. In many areas, wood ducks have difficulty finding suitable natural nesting sites. This represented the first recorded use of artificial nesting structures for wood ducks. We recommend one 1 X 10 X 12' cedar board (3/4" thick by 9 1/4" wide) lumber that is rough on one side (for the inside of the box). Wood duck boxes provide a man-made alternative, where hens can nest in relative safety from predators. You can also use other lumber such as pine or plywood. To increase the chances of your nest box being used by waterfowl, it should be located in an area attractive to cavity nesting ducks. Ducks Unlimited does not recommend applying a finish to cedar boxes. It's important to help them out by placing four to six inches of wood shavings in the bottom of the box. Do not use sawdust. Tip: For best results during the entire construction of your wood duck box, drill pilot holes as needed using an appropriate size drill bit (slightly smaller than the diameter of your wood screws) to avoid splitting your boards. By building, installing and maintaining nest boxes, individuals can gain insight into the interesting aspects of wood duck nesting and reproduction, while helping to boost local populations. Below are plans for a nest box that you can build, install and maintain. The two screws form the hinge and allow the door to open. Be sure and construct a predator guard for your wood duck box before installing. DU celebrates historic signing of ACE Act into law, These wooden structures help boost local wood duck populations. Unfortunately, their distribution within densely settled regions made them readily accessible to market hunters throughout the year. Wood ducks, buffleheads, barrow's goldeneyes, common goldeneyes, hooded mergansers and common mergansers are all cavity nesting ducks. Fish & Wildlife Service) erected 486 bark-covered slab wooden boxes, which are thought to have been designed by biologists Gil Gigstead and Milford Smith at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in central Illinois. Wood duck boxes provide an excellent opportunity for anyone to become involved in wildlife management. Ideally, a four-inch layer of wood shavings should be added to each box for nesting material. In precolonial times, the wood duck was likely the most abundant waterfowl species in eastern North America. Wood duck boxes provide an excellent opportunity for anyone to become involved in wildlife management. It can suffocate ducklings and holds moisture. You can find wood shavings at your local pet or farm supply store. You … Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Wood Duck Nest Box (3 pack) Cedar at t… If you don't have any ducks using your box over the summer, don't worry. Care must be taken to ensure that the guard fits tightly against the post and that no overhanging tree limbs allow predators to bypass the predator shield. Do not apply finish inside the box. 19, No. The ducks will find your box by seeing the contrast in color caused by the entry hole. When a prospective cavity is found, a hen wood duck will land in the tree and carefully inspect the site for a variety of characteristics, including size, shape and security from predators and the elements. Double check your measurements for accuracy before cutting. You never know when a duck might hop into the box. The most effective way to provide defense from these marauders is to install a predator guard on the pole supporting the box. Fish & Wildlife Service) erected 486 bark-covered slab wooden boxes, which are thought to have been designed by biologists Gil Gigstead and Milford Smith at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in central Illinois. Wood Duck Box Plans [STEP 1] Start with a 12-foot plank of 1×10 lumber--cedar is best; pine will work. Drill five 1/2" drainage holes into the floor (3) as shown. Although duckling production from nest boxes represents only a small percentage of that produced from natural cavities, wood duck boxes provide an excellent opportunity for anyone to become involved in wildlife management. Attach the floor by fastening two screws through the back (1) and two through the side (2). In addition, shallow, fertile wetlands with thick cover and an abundance of invertebrates typically provide the best habitat for broods. Rough-cut, unfinished lumber is preferred because ducklings have no trouble climbing the inside of the box with their sharp claws to reach the exit hole. Ideally, boxes should be erected on either wooden posts or metal conduits outfitted with predator guards. The deployment of large numbers of nesting boxes can be used to help increase local or regional populations of wood ducks in areas where natural cavities are limited. Already have a nesting box? [STEP 2] On the outer face of the front, cut an oval-shaped entry hole, 4 ½ inches wide and 3 ½ inches high. Once a cavity nesting bird starts using your box, you'll likely see many broods raised over the years. If you decide to apply a finish to your nest box, use a nontoxic wood preserver or a light shade of an earth-tone paint. These wooden structures help boost local wood duck populations, and may also be used by other cavity nesting birds. Round the top outside edge of the door (5) with sandpaper. The female will use this to cover the eggs during laying or when she takes feeding breaks during incubation. Avoid the urge to look into the box during spring and summer. Note: the shorter side (7.75") faces front. Do not apply finish inside the box. Ducks Unlimited does not recommend applying a finish to cedar boxes. A quality box first needs to be durable and built to last. If you decide to apply a finish to your nest box, use a nontoxic wood preserver or a light shade of an earth-tone paint. They will also use a constructed nesting box. In 1937, the U.S. Proper entry hole dimensions are critical. You'll also see them using trees along riverbanks and … Boxes should be cleaned out and replenished with fresh nesting material every year in late winter, before hens initiate nesting in early spring. Drill a pilot hole and cut out the entry hole using a jigsaw. All nesting boxes should be secured to protect hens and their clutches from nest predators, especially raccoons and rat snakes. The dramatic rebound of wood duck populations since that time can be largely attributed to protection provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Note: You can also use steel hardware cloth fencing attached with a staple gun for toe holds. Draw the entry hole on the front (4) using a pencil (4 1/2" x 3 1/2" oval). Materials: • One 1”x10”x10’ cypress (used here) or cedar • One 1x12x13” cypress (used here) or cedar • Thirty-five to forty 2” exterior-grade deck screws • One galvanized screen door “propeller” latch • One 4x12” wire mesh (1/4”) or metal lathe (for fledgling exit ladder) More than half were used by "woodies," revealing the great management potential of the boxes. See detailed view below. Biological Survey (now the U.S. The ducks will find your box by seeing the contrast in color caused by the entry hole. In 1937, the U.S. 3). Wood duck females typically build their nests in tree cavities near wetlands. Fasten the door at the top with one screw from the front and one from the back. Overharvesting, coupled with the destruction of bottomland habitats, drove these colorful birds to the brink of extinction by the early 20th century. Several important factors must be considered when selecting sites to place wood duck boxes.