Local children helping to boost wood duck population

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Members of the AMA Sportsmen Association are reporting seeing evidence there is a growing number of wood ducks in the area and local children have helped with that.

The club’s annual wood duck box building day was held last Saturday morning with about 41 children along with their parents and grandparents turning out to build 40 boxes. The number of children was about the same as it was in 2017.

Local children helped to build wood duck boxes last Saturday at the AMA Sportsmen Association. Most of the 41 children who attended show their boxes.

“They range anywhere from six months to 16-years-old,” said Brian Beattie, AMA Sportsmen Association member and also a member of the club’s conservation committee.

Beattie pointed out that 14 grandfathers gathered a few days before to prepare for the assembly day.

“We cut out all of the wood for the boxes,” commented Beattie. “It was like a kit for them to put together.”

The wood duck boxes were taken home by some children with others leaving them at the club so that members could put them up around the community. Beattie said some wood duck boxes on the AMA Sportsmen Association property need replacing while others will be taken to local marshlands.

Nash and George Garant work together to create one of the 40 wood duck boxes that were built at the AMA Sportsmen Association last weekend.

“They last about ten years, then they have to be replaced,” he said.

Beattie added there is a noticeable difference in the wood duck population, pointing out that they like to nest in trees that are rotting out or in the boxes. The boxes are deep so that raccoons can’t reach in and get at the eggs with metal plates being screwed on near the box openings to further deter raccoons.

Those who maintain the wood duck boxes, including those who installed them in marshlands, report cleaning out egg shells every year, a sign that more and more wood ducks are hatching and going into the wild.

Justine Varney helps daughter Rylee construct their wood duck box.

The AMA Sportsmen Association is planning a similar event March 3, only with bat boxes. The bat box assembly day will also start at 10 a.m. with Beattie explaining that the bat boxes are smaller and flatter than a wood duck box. There are also more places bat boxes can be installed, he added, noting that bats are good because they eat mosquitoes.

The club’s conservation committee gets $2,000 per year, Beattie said, with plans for next year calling for wood duck box construction as well as boxes for screech owls.

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