wood duck houses
Secrets to success: Face to the south for morning sun. Check yearly for repairs and to get out any rotten eggs or wet shavings that can cook the eggs when it gets warm. Put on 1 inch conduit pipes over water to keep out the varmits (although they do get in when water is iced over). Use caulk to fill in any gaps. Move to other areas if they are not getting used. What looks good to you is not always what they want. Make sure house is tight on pole. If they are swaying they do not get used as often. And much, much more.
26 for 31 this year with 5 of the other 6 having activity.
Last year I put out a house in the spring and had an egg laid in it 2 days later. That same box hatched two different broods.
Actually, it's easier to put your "post" in the water when there's ice on the lake. You just drill your hole through the ice and then pound your ( I like to use maybe 1 inch galvanized pipe) support pole into the bottom. Your house can be secured using strap hangars and if you put it all over water you don't have to have a predator guard as we don't really have a problem with water snakes or anything. I've never had a problem with raccoons swimming out and climbing the pole. If you build your house right and size the hole like they tell you in your directions they won't be able to get in anyway. You can put the post in after ice out. It's not too late. Good for you for helping out the Woodies.
Interested in installing 2-3 of my own this spring. When is it "too late" to put these up or should I have done that in fall? I want to put a post in the water, but obviously ice is the problem. Appreciate any advice for a newbie.
You should definitely check your houses before iceout just to remove anything that might have gotten in over the winter. I clean mine out in August or September as many times some of the houses are used as "dump" nests. This means that maybe a couple or few hens have laid eggs in them with no intention of brooding them. I've taken over a dozen eggs (infertile) out of boxes in August. I've had Tree Swallows build over the top of the Woodies eggs and nest successfully. They'll often use a Woodie box after the Woodie chicks have left the box. You can put numerous boxes on a small pond but try to put them out of sight of each other. Incidentally, the reason some boxes become "dump" nests is actually a survival tactic. A dominant hen will try to brood all those eggs in one box even if she didn't lay them. Here is one of my boxes from last year where the hen laid a second brood and they hatched on July 4th. That would mean they probably weren't flying until about the beginning of September.
I checked mine on Saturday and was 1/2. The empty one was on a pole that had bent 45 degrees so that might have been the problem. I bent it straight and filled it with new bedding. Woodies are 50% of what we shoot, so I hope the boxes are successful this year. Can you have too many boxes on a small pothole?
About that time to check the houses. Last year was 18 for 31. Hoping for continued success even though wood duck numbers seemed down again last year. Anyone else have numbers of current year success?
Success down to 10 out of 32 with 2 others having large clusters of unhatched eggs (1 house had 24 eggs unhatched). I ask the DNR about the continual smaller amount of houses getting used. They stated wood ducks are now using natural cavities more. You can't make this up. They literally state that within a matter of a couple years wood ducks are back to preferring natural over man made. Personally, at least in my area, I think wood duck numbers are way down.