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!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Posted by Lake Lady at 7:27 AM