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Your Website for Wood Duck Information
The mission of the Wood Duck Society is to educate and promote sound management of wood duck populations and associated habitats required for their reproduction and survival.
Photo by Roger Strand
The North American Wood Duck Aix sponsa
The beautiful and captivating wood duck is roughly 19-21 inches long, with a wingspan of 26-29 inches wide. It is roughly half the size of a mallard, but most of the comparisons stop there. Wood Ducks are cavity nesters and prefer breeding habitat that includes deciduous trees. They are uniquely equipped to fly through a tangle of branches to reach their nest site in a tree cavity. They have the largest eye of any duck, a broad wing for maneuvering, aided by a tail that is long and wide. Their legs are near the center of their body making them agile on the ground when searching for acorns on a forest floor. Woodies are classified as perching ducks; highly developed toes and claws allow them to grasp and perch on tree branches.
Feeding: Wood ducks mainly dabble and tip for food in a shallow pond or slough, yet they may dive for acorns that have fallen in shallow water from a nearby oak tree. The distribution of the wood duck occurs naturally only in North America. There are two separate breeding populations, one in the west extending from British Columbia south to California and including the high plains of Montana, and one larger population in the east extending from an expanding western line in the Great Plains east to the Atlantic Ocean and from southern Canada in the north to the Gulf Coast in the south.
Migration of the wood duck is unique. Frank Bellrose, who spent his professional life researching wood ducks, has estimated that overall only about two-thirds of woodies migrate to and from northern breeding grounds. Folks living south of North Carolina, Tennessee and the middle of Arkansas, often refer to woodies as summer ducks, since their local hens stick around to lay their eggs at home. Migratory woodies need open water with aquatic invertebrates as they head north in the spring back to their natal ponds. Philopatry is the instinct that drives a hen back home to a natural cavity or nest box used the previous season or a juvenile hen to return to where she was hatched. Drake wood ducks are mere followers in the spring migration, competing with other drakes along the way for supremacy in pairing with a hen for the season. Wood ducks are not known for lifetime pairings. Habitat destruction and unregulated hunting in the 1800's and early 1900's decimated the wood duck population. In the early 1900's, with populations at dangerously low levels, statutory protection allowed the woodies to make a remarkable recovery. Nest boxes,installed predominately after the 1940's have played a part in that recovery. Among duck species that nest in tree cavities, the wood duck has been the most successful in adapting to artificial nest boxes.
The Wood Duck Society, with years of experience and professionals expertise, shares with you, the time proven method for safe and successful wood duck nest box installation and placement. Our method is not only beneficial for the hen and her clutch, but for you with 'no ladders' involved. Check out our Best Practices method.
The Spring 2013 issue
The March 2013/ Spring issue of the Wood Duck Newsgram is now available. If you are interested in receiving our colorful and add/free Newsgram, click on the Membership link below or click on the Membership link above for information. Your membership to the WoodDuck Society includes a one year subscription to the Newsgram (three issues, March, July, November). Become a member today!
The Wood Duck Society promotes the "Best Practices" method for installing a wood duck nest box. The box mount method with 'cone guard' for predators is time proven, resulting in safe monitoring (NO LADDERS), low maintenance and most of all 'NO TREES'. It is easy for you and prevents most predators including mink, squirrels, snakes and raccoons from killing a hen or destroying a clutch. Complete analysis and instructions can be found in Best Practices. DON'T MISS READING IT!
To purchase nest boxes and cone guards for your wood duck project, the Wood Duck Society (WDS) recommends checking out the following websites. The Minnesota Waterfowl Association www.mnwaterfowl.com for nest boxes and www.prairiepotholeday.com for 'cone guards'. The Wood Duck Society does not make or sell nest boxes or cone guards. The WDS is friends with both groups, but is not directly affiliated with either, and receives no monetary benefits from your purchases.
Photo of fisher compliments of Len Medlock Photo of raccoon compliments of Ron Bice
Roger Strand, center photo, teaching kids about the documented "Best Practices" method of nest box installation, to prevent four legged predation.
WDS Annual Meeting for 2013 was a great success*
Professional wildlife artist, Joe Hautman, winner of the 2012 Federal Duck Stamp contest, was the keynote speaker at this years' Annual Meeting at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN. Joe's presentation was filled with interesting insight on his subject choices, time and effort spent on photography for his paintings and his thought process for combining all available resources to make his final paintings not only beautiful and realistic, but very appealing to us.
Joe also autographed Federal Duck Stamp posters of his award winning Wood Duck as part of a fund raiser for the Wood Duck Society. You can view Joe Hautman's paintings, including the 2012 Federal Duck Stamp winner by visiting his website, www.hautman.com/joehome.html
The morning session was well attended and after a box lunch at noon, many attendees stayed on to share wood duck information and videos from inbox cameras. Technology today rewards us with sensational videos from these cameras into insight we might have never known.
Wood Duck Annual Meeting 2013
Professional artist/ Joe Hautman sharing stories and painting techniques regarding his Wood Duck painting that became the '2012 Federal Duck Stamp Award' winner.
Joe Hautman captivates the 75 plus attendees at the 2013 Wood Duck Society Annual Meeting, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN.
Check out our newly updated 'frequently asked questions' (FAQ). The link contains detailed information about wood ducks, their nesting habits, choosing a nest box design and 'how to tips' for helping you make important decisions on box placement. If you need further assistance, please Email us.
Its' time to clean out your wood duck nest boxes if you have not already done so. It is also a great time to 'remove' those nest boxes from trees and install them on poles of wood or metal with a "cone guard" to protect the hen from predators. Details for the best time proven installation for your nest box is just a click away under >Best Practices. Nesting season in the northern states starts in late March and runs through early June.
Click here to watch film of the jump.
Photo by Stephen Straka
Nest Box Building at a previous WDS Annual Meeting
Previous Annual Meeting with excited youth (above), proud of his box building achievement. WDS director, Roger Strand [right / blue shirt] assists another family with their nest box.
Donations to the WDS
The Wood Duck Society is non profit 501c3 certified and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Donations to the Wood Duck Society help us in our quest to educate the public on wood ducks and teach time proven methods for installing wood duck nest boxes. It also supports the (advertisement free) Wood Duck Newsgram, our impressive tri-year publication with extraordinary photos and stories of not only wood ducks, but many other duck and avian species. Our continued support of youth is very important to us. Sponsoring a youth each year at the Minnesota Waterfowl ‘Woodie Camp’ is one prime example. Help us to continue our mission by supporting the WDS with a $15 membership that includes a one year subscription (three issues: March, July, November) to the Wood Duck Newsgram, Cash donations are also welcome and appreciated.
We receive many emails and pictures from wood duck enthusiasts across the country and even worldwide. Your stories and pictures are greatly appreciated. Occasionally we will use your pictures in the Wood Duck Newsgram [with your permission]. So, if you have pictures you might like to share, please send them our way.