Each spring we clean the 2 wood duck houses we have by our creek in our marsh. This creek happens to be named Sand Spring Creek hence where our kennel name came from since it flows through our property. We clean the houses and put new bedding in them so the wood ducks have a nice place to make a nest and hatch their chicks.
The Wood Duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult is from 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in) in length with a wingspan of between 66 to 73 cm (26 to 29 in). This is about three-quarters of the length of an adult Mallard. It shares its genus with the Asian Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata).
The adult male has distinctive multicoloured iridescent plumage and red eyes,with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads.
The male’s call is a rising whistle, “jeeeeee”; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, “do-weep do-weep,” when flushed, and a sharp “cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek” for an alarm call.
Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States and western Mexico. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions, produce two broods in a single season—the only North American duck that can do so.
Females typically lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate for an average of 30 days.However, if nesting boxes are placed too close together, females may lay eggs in the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests which may contain as many as 30 eggs and unsuccessful incubation, a behaviour known as “nest dumping”.
After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 88 metres (290 ft) without injury. They prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing, but will nest up to 140 m (150 yd) away from the shoreline. The day after they hatch, the young climb to the nest entrance and jump to the ground. The ducklings can swim and find their own food by this time.
These birds feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores.
Walking across the marsh.
The dogs love to go with when we walk anywhere’s on our property. This gives them time to run and play and not have to worry about vehicles.
Straighting up the house.
The old nest.
Once he opened the door the above picture is what was inside the house. There were a couple old wood duck eggs that never hatched. There were feathers from a blue jay and the grey area’s in the picture were owl pellets. The hole to get in the house is pretty small so John thinks a screech owl took over the nest after the wood duck was done.
Cleaning out the old mulch.
Norman grabbing the old egg.
Gambler smelling the mulch.
Putting new mulch in the box.
Finishing up the second house.
The nesting boxes are all set now for the wood ducks if they choose to use them. The dogs had great fun on this adventure.