Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wood Duck Boxes in Massachusetts

Here is a press release Steve shared with me about the need for people in Massachusetts to build and post wood duck boxes.

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You Can Help: Urgent Housing Need for Wood Ducks in Massachusetts

There is an immediate housing need in Massachusetts that conservationists can all support! Wood ducks are one of the few kinds of waterfowl that nest in cavities or holes in trees. There are not enough natural cavities available in the state for nesting, but constructed boxes have filled the gap. While wood ducks are still wintering in warm, southern climes, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) biologists and technicians are braving chilly winter temperatures on icy ponds, marshes, and other wetlands evaluating the condition of wood duck boxes and replacing boxes that are missing or in disrepair. However, materials for wood duck boxes are currently in short supply at the agency and the window of opportunity for safe, strong ice to put up new boxes will be closing by late February. Time is of the essence.

“Wood duck hens will return to the same box to nest year after year. Imagine the plight of a hen coming back from wintering down south and finding that her nesting site is gone.” said H Heusmann, Waterfowl Project Leader for MassWildlife. “Ideally, we need enough materials on hand to build 300-500 boxes, and we’ve estimated that it costs nearly $10 to construct a sturdy box.” Heusmann points out that duck boxes need to be constructed with rough-cut pine, allowing newly-hatched ducklings a more secure foothold as they scramble up and out the box for their first swim.

MassWildlife welcomes donations of constructed wood duck boxes or lumber for building boxes. Completed wood duck boxes can be dropped off at any of the five district offices located in Pittsfield, Belchertown, West Boylston, Acton, and Bourne, or the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough during business days. Wood duck box plans are posted at: Answering the call for wood duck housing, the Massachusetts State Chapter of Ducks Unlimited staffed a booth at the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition in Worcester and invited attendees to help build wood duck boxes on Sunday, February 8, 2009.

For those interested conservationists don’t have the time or ability to build a box but who want to support this project, the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is also partnering with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in this appeal by accepting donations of money and materials that will go directly toward wood duck nest box construction. Gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. To contact the Foundation go online to or call (413) 230-4945.

For more information about this important project, contact or call (508) 389-6311.


Kim said...

Love the photo of the mother with her nestling.

I had no idea there was a shortage. If I lived anywhere near water I would do this. I hope many decide to participate in a project as important as this.

Birdinggirl said...

@Kallen: I agree- it's a great picture. Wish it were mine! I did add a personal pic though of juvenile wood ducks take at the Charles River last summer.