Lone Star Wood Duck Nesting Box ®

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Lone Star Woodcraft wood duck nesting box

Price: $179.95

Sale price: $159.95

save 11%

side door pivots open t for easy cleaning!

 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 nest.

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 trees.

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 below).

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 the water.

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 in!

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.

For information email:  Regan  Garden Ridge, Texas (just off Bat Cave Rd) ph 210.885.0811