Drake wood ducks were once thought to be headed to extinction until hunters took notice and lent a helping hand, or a helping home.
A happy home
Erecting a wood duck house or nesting box can bring wood ducks to your favorite hunting ground or waterway. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Select the right location, the home should be 20-100 yards of a water source
- Place the opening of the home facing east or south to avoid west rains entering through the hole
- Determine how you will install a predator guard
- Situate nest boxes at least 6 to 12 feet high at the box’s bottom edge
- Clear any limbs that would prevent a wood duck from flying into the box or could permit a predator to reach into the box
Build or buy
If you have the tools, sawing and assembly generally takes about an hour.
- Cedar lumber can withstand the elements longer than plywood, but both work
- Make the entrance hole 3 inches by 4 inches in an elliptical shape
- Use a chisel to cut small notches or bumps in the inside front panel under the entrance hole so small ducks can climb out
- Tilt the nest box slightly forward at the top, so small ducks can get out easier
- Boxes must be cleaned annually, install an opening system, normally a hinged side panel for easy access
- Each year, line the bottom of the box with wood shavings for cushion material
- If you’re not handy with tools, prebuilt wooden or plastic boxes are inexpensive.
- Find preassembled wood duck boxes or kits through local conservation clubs, eBay, state game departments, and even sources like www.cattailproducts.com
Keep an Eye Out
Try spying in the ducks (hens and chicks) in the next box each spring using inexpensive webcams or game cameras. Wood duck nesting boxes have proven to help wood duck populations rebound across their range.