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Ah the Wood Duck house. When I was a kid there was a big push to build nest boxes, do to the decline in numbers of the American Wood Duck.
To this day I still maintain 6 of them.
But did you know these nest boxes are for more than the Wood Duck many other ducks are tree hole nesters.
Two weeks ago while retrieving a pair of boxes that some how popped off the pole and now setting partially in the water I disturbed a Hooded Merganser hen in the ones next to it.
She had 10 eggs and the box on the back side had 5 little grayish blue eggs.
We repaired the two boxes but could only hang one back over water.
The other we put in the front yard on a Oak down by the lake. That makes 3 over water and three in trees in the yard.
This weekend I noticed one Wood come and go three times to new tree box on the Oak.
One of the others has feathers around the opening but I never saw a duck.
So Saturday mid morning I went and paddled by the three over the water and one Hooded Merganser, one Bufflehead and a Woody all came out as I paddled by.
Saturday evening we had a Comon Goldeneye go into the last tree box.
All 6 house are in use.
So even if you don't have Wood Ducks in your area others duck will use them.
 

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When my son lived in Maplewood his back yard bordered a wetland pond/swamp and he built 6 boxes. Had a game camera set up to watch one of them that had a Woody in-residence. Sent me a blow by blow until the hatchlings dived into the water and momma took them somewhere else.

Very interesting.
 

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So even if you don't have Wood Ducks in your area others duck will use them.
I maintain 14 of them. But the woodies have been chased out by the owls. The woodie population is strong but the owls are not, so I am not too disappointed. Once in a while I see the pileated woodpeckers in them too. A couple years ago I had a family of whistlers nesting.

One of the boxes seems to be a breeding ground for huntsman siders- when cleaning it out there were several in there. These are 6" spiders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good information , I was not aware that others will use wood duck boxes. I have only had woodies use my boxes.
The Golden eye was my highlight of the weekend. For the last four years we have had a hen Goldeneye with her brood on the lake.
Another good piece of info is the hole size. It is not round but oval this keeps most predators out and some other birds. The one the Goldeneye is in happens to be round.
A good building plan is on the MN Outdoor News
 

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I used to maintain 10 of them. I used to drill two 1/4' holes in the back wall spaced 3" apart directly across from the entry hole. They claimed the light showing through looked like an owls eyes to starlings and other small birds. I can't say it worked but for many years I never had starlings and a buddy who had one on a pond at his place who did not have the holes had to shoot starlings off his every spring. He never used to bother, he assumed the ducks would chase them off but one day he witnessed a starling enter one that had a nest with woodie eggs in it. The hen was still in the laying stage and not the sitting stage yet so she was out of the nest at the time and he watched the starling push the eggs out of the entry hole and take over the box. After that any birds near that box that were not ducks died! :ROFLMAO:
 

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How wonderful. I have an Oxbow lake that runs along almost all of one side of my property (about 7 acres) and I get Woodies throughout the Winter. I also live about 1/4 mile from the Brazos river and the area behind my property is heavily wooded down to the River. I have only lived here since October 2019, but noticed that I have had 3-4 pairs visiting well into this Spring. I have a couple of trees nearby that would be great for a box or two. I always thought I was too far South for them to nest, but after seeing them this late in the year, I think I will build some boxes for next year.

Thanks to Kickstart for the plans.

Here is a photo.

Plant Water Bird Green Beak
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How wonderful. I have an Oxbow lake that runs along almost all of one side of my property (about 7 acres) and I get Woodies throughout the Winter. I also live about 1/4 mile from the Brazos river and the area behind my property is heavily wooded down to the River. I have only lived here since October 2019, but noticed that I have had 3-4 pairs visiting well into this Spring. I have a couple of trees nearby that would be great for a box or two. I always thought I was too far South for them to nest, but after seeing them this late in the year, I think I will build some boxes for next year.

Thanks to Kickstart for the plans.

Here is a photo.

View attachment 1752770 .
You never know al it takes is a cold year and the hens can't stop that nesting feeling.
Thats how that Goldeneye started nesting on our lake. Warm in MN and frozen in Canada.
One change in the plans add a 1X1.5 strip across the back towards the top to lean the house forward. Helps the chick's climb out.
Check out the MN Outdoor News plans.
MN puts a lot of pride in raising Woodys even though we don't shoot all that many.
Around my area they stay until the rice freezes up.
1752786
 

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You never know al it takes is a cold year and the hens can't stop that nesting feeling.
Thats how that Goldeneye started nesting on our lake. Warm in MN and frozen in Canada.
One change in the plans add a 1X1.5 strip across the back towards the top to lean the house forward. Helps the chick's climb out.
Check out the MN Outdoor News plans.
MN puts a lot of pride in raising Woodys even though we don't shoot all that many.
Around my area they stay until the rice freezes up.
I've been a member (supporter) of Duck's Unlimited for over 40 years. I was a Charter member of a couple of our local chapters in Galveston County. I am now in Fort Bend County. I remember them showing ways of making of box to help the chicks using hardware cloth along the front for the same reason.

I've hunted Woodies in the pecan bottoms around Austin when I was in College. Nothing got my heart racing more than having those guys whistling through the trees there. I really love them.

I duck hunted almost every day growing up through High School during the season. I always made a number of Goose hunts back then too. Alas, I am too old to tromp through the Marshes and Steel Shot just about ruined Waterfowl for me.

I still hunt Sandhill every year as I have a dove lease that has a few fields that bring them in and I can use lead. :D

Thanks for that photo. That is a really beautiful Drake.
 

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Hello all.
There is information on the internet that Wood Duck have been brought to the UK from the US since the mid !800's, first brought over here as ornamental stock for the wealthy who had landscaped lakes and ponds, reports say that their range is widespread from the Lochs in the far north down to the lakes and rives near the south coast of the UK. Their stated numbers in the wild seem to be very low but they are here, could a real wild pair of wood duck make the 3,000 odd miles across the big pond, I would like to think that with a strong tail wind and a lot of prayers, it just might work out ?
Thanks
Phil
 
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