Monday, March 18, 2013

Wood Duck Box Inspection

Some of you may remember that last year we had a BRFAL wood duck box refurbishment project at Smith Mountain Lake State Park.  

Funding was sponsored by the Friends of SML State Park.  Under the guidance of Lauri Schular, Nature Interpreter at the state park we built and installed 5 new wood duck boxes and refurbished 5 old wood duck boxes and installed them on existing posts throughout the park.

So now it is early Spring and mating season for wood ducks should be beginning.  The questioned begged: Are wood ducks actually using any of the boxes, or perhaps any other creatures?  The only way to find out was to visit each of the boxes.

We formed 2 teams of 2 to find out.  Lauri Schular was well prepared with GPS units preprogrammed with the wood duck box locations.  Dick LeRoy and Lauri were one team and Rick Watson and I were the other team.  Each team found and inspected 5 boxes.

And what did we find……drum roll please.  Well we didn’t find any wood ducks or wood duck eggs, boo hoo.  One box reportedly had an owl living in it but we didn’t see any signs of the owl in the box.  There was a pair of ducks swimming in the vicinity of one of the boxes, but they were tentatively identified as buffleheads and weren’t using the wood duck box.

So no wood ducks.  Now what do we do?  Well we did note that some of the refurbished boxes could use some minor repairs.  That will be a good excuse to go back and visit some of the boxes again in a few weeks.  Who knows what we may find next time?

Rich Brager

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