Lone Star Wood Duck
Nesting Box ®
(move mouse over picture to open door)
side door pivots open t for easy
approx. dimensions 24" x 14" x 10"
oval entrance 4" x 3"
weight 11 lbs.
Wood ducks, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Common
Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and
Buffleheads are all cavity nesting ducks. They build
nests in abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree
cavities caused by disease, fire or lightning. These
ducks will also use a constructed nesting box such as
the Lone Star Wood Duck Nesting Box ®.
This Wood Duck nesting box is built according to the
recommended dimensions of
Ducks Unlimited ®.
Constructed from 100% Western
Red Cedar this house
is built to last and withstand the environmental
elements commonly experienced where where ducks come to
Where to find tenants: To
increase the chances of your nest box being used by
waterfowl, it should be located in an area attractive to
cavity nesting ducks. You’ll see these birds using
wooded wetlands that contain water year round or, at
least, throughout the summer. You’ll also see them using
trees along riverbanks and lake shorelines.
Positioning your nest box:
Nest boxes can be mounted on tree trunks or on steel
poles beside the water or above the water.
Good placement: a dead
tree at the water’s edge
Better placement: a solid dead
tree in the water
Best placement: boxes on poles
near standing, flooded, dead trees Live trees can be
used for mounting boxes, but keep a close eye on your
box. Growing trees may loosen mounts and make boxes less
attractive to the birds.
Tree Trunks: Live and dead trees
are suitable. If beavers are about, don’t place nest
boxes on poplar or white birch trees. Beavers eat these
Steel Poles: Make sure the poles
are fixed solidly in the soil, or marsh bottom, to
ensure that the nest boxes are stable. Drill two holes
in this pole to accommodate a predator guard (see
• Boxes should be placed above
typical high water levels and at a height that will
allow you to access the box for monitoring and
maintenance (about 4 to 6 feet above land or water). In
terms of distance inland, try to keep your box close to
• Clear an unobstructed flight
path to your nest box by removing branches that might be
in the way.
• The entrance hole to the box
should face the water.
Nest box maintenance: Once a
cavity nesting bird starts using your box, you’ll likely
see many broods raised over the years. Nesting sites for
these birds are limited in number. When they find a good
nesting site, there is a very good chance they’ll return
in following years. When you put up a nest box you are
committing yourself to maintaining that box. Fall and
winter are the best times to remove old nesting
material, tighten any loose screws and mounts, and add
new wood shavings. If you don’t have any ducks using
your box over the summer, don’t worry. Waterfowl
biologists have seen waterfowl migrating in the fall
scope out potential nesting sites for next spring. This
too is a good reason to keep your boxes in top
condition. You never know when somebody might be popping
A Little Wood Duck History
In pre-colonial times, the wood
duck was likely the most abundant waterfowl species in
eastern North America. Unfortunately, their distribution
within densely settled regions made them readily
accessible to market hunters throughout the year. Over
harvesting, coupled with the destruction of bottomland
habitats, drove these colorful birds to the brink of
extinction by the early 20th century. The dramatic
rebound of wood duck populations since that time can be
largely attributed to protection provided by the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. However, the recovery
of the wood duck was also assisted by the advent of
artificial nesting structures, or wood duck boxes.
In 1937, the U.S. Biological Survey (now the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service) erected 486 bark-covered slab
wooden boxes, which are thought to have been designed by
biologists Gil Gigstead and Milford Smith at Chautauqua
National Wildlife Refuge in central Illinois. This
represented the first recorded use of artificial nesting
structures for wood ducks. Over the next two years,
Arthur Hawkins and renowned wood duck expert Frank
Bellrose erected 700 rough-cut cypress board boxes
throughout Illinois. More than half were used by "woodies,"
revealing the great management potential of the boxes.
Since these pioneering efforts, thousands of wood duck
boxes have been built and erected by a diversity of
people and groups, from wildlife agencies to
conservation-minded private citizens.
Wood duck females typically build their nests in tree
cavities near wetlands. When a prospective cavity is
found, a hen wood duck will land in the tree and
carefully inspect the site for a variety of
characteristics, including size, shape and security from
predators and the elements. In many areas, wood ducks
have difficulty finding suitable natural nesting sites.
Wood duck boxes provide a man-made alternative, where
hens can nest in relative safety from predators. The
deployment of large numbers of nesting boxes can be used
to help increase local or regional populations of wood
ducks in areas where natural cavities are limited.
Several important factors must be considered when
selecting sites to place wood duck boxes. Suitable brood
habitat must be available within a couple of hundred
yards in order for ducklings to survive once they exit
the box. In addition, shallow, fertile wetlands with
thick cover and an abundance of invertebrates typically
provide the best habitat for broods. Ideally, boxes
should be erected on either wooden posts or metal
conduits outfitted with predator guards.
While many types and styles of wood duck boxes have
been produced from a variety of materials over the
years, those made from rough-cut lumber, like the
original prototypes built by Hawkins and Bellrose, seem
to work best. Rough-cut, unfinished lumber is preferred
because ducklings have no trouble climbing the inside of
the box with their sharp claws to reach the exit hole.
In plastic or metal structures, which have slick
surfaces, hardware cloth ladders must be installed to
provide ducklings with an escape route. Additionally, a
four-inch layer of wood shavings or sawdust should be
added to each box for nesting material. The female will
use this to cover the eggs during laying or when she
takes feeding breaks during incubation. Boxes should be
cleaned out and replenished with fresh nesting material
every year in late winter, before hens initiate nesting
in early spring.
All nesting boxes should be secured to protect hens
and their clutches from nest predators, especially
raccoons and rat snakes. The most effective way to
provide defense from these marauders is to install a
predator guard on the pole supporting the box. Conical
predator guards made of sheet metal are most effective.
Care must be taken to ensure that the guard fits tightly
against the post and that no overhanging tree limbs
allow predators to bypass the predator shield.
Although duckling production from nest boxes
represents only a small percentage of that produced from
natural cavities, wood duck boxes provide an excellent
opportunity for anyone to become involved in wildlife
management. By building, installing and maintaining nest
boxes, individuals can gain insight into the interesting
aspects of wood duck nesting and reproduction, while
helping to boost local populations.