Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home




You've seen some of my wood duck and mallard babies. I thought you might like to see one of the wood duck nesting boxes. This one was built by our neighborhood "duck lady". She carves the duck head on the front. Some of her boxes have both the male and female heads. The 2nd shot shows the inside. There is a Plexiglas panel that enables you to see the nest without disturbing the eggs. It can be lifted to clean the box out after the hatching. We Inn-Keepers put cedar shavings in the box and when mom builds her nest, she adds soft down. Right below the hole (always football shaped) is a piece of hardware cloth. The ducks have a hooked beak and they climb up that wire and tumble out of the box when called out by their mothers at 24 hours of age. It is imperative that they fall ... at least 5 feet and up to 15 feet ... because the impact with the ground or water somehow jump-starts their little digestive systems. If they don't fall out within 24 hours, they can starve to death. It is incredible to see them ... when she calls, they come tumbling out of there one after the other and practically walk on water to get to her. In the last photo you'll see a vertical piece of wood near the top. This is what causes the box to tilt slightly forward when it's mounted on a post (usually on a boat dock or retaining wall, so they can fall into the water). We have 8 boxes within view of our deck in our neighborhood and it is great fun to watch them! If you look in the distance in the first photo, you can see a green box on a post at the wall of Buster's yard. Obviously, the subject box today was just posing for pictures and not actually available for occupation!

4 comments:

Jim said...

Learn something new everyday. It would be neat to have one of those, it would be neater if I lived on the lake first.

raf said...

Love the woodies and the Duck Lady does some nice work on their boxes! Very informative post about your flock there on the lake.

Kris McCracken said...

They seem very tall for nesting boxes. Are they like that for a reason? (Excuse my ignorance if this is a blindingly obvious question!)

Lake Lady said...

Hi Kris,

It may appear taller than it is in the photo...but we put 8-10" of cedar shavings in the bottom, which brings the nest up to the hardware cloth. The little ones climb up it and out! Their natural nesting preference is in hollow trees so I guess they're born climbers.

Windy Start to Spring..Mar 18

Windy Start to Spring..Mar 18
Probably not the best day to start this blog.....