|Waterfowl Nest Boxes are checked every winter |
to review success of each breeding season
We've nearly completed reviewing the breeding success of waterfowl that use the nest boxes located throughout the property. We currently have a total of 25 nest boxes installed and functioning within normal parameters. Breeding was attempted in 21 of the nest boxes. Nicki Hall and Alyce Walker volunteered a great deal of time this year to aid in this process. Ice conditions were suitable for a short period of time but we managed to reach the boxes that require more ice early on and then were able to access the other boxes soon afterwards. We had only 8 hooded merganser eggs hatch and fledged, all of which were found in one nest box. This box was in a pond over fairly deep water. The wood ducks appeared to fare better with a total of 145 fledged ducklings. This past spring season was very dry! Several observations indicate that the drought impacted the waterfowl that use the nest boxes. Several of the boxes were usurped by white-footed mice and grey squirrels, which rarely happens because the nest boxes are located in regularly flooded marshes and ponds. The squirrels and mice were able to access the boxes while the marshes were dry for such a long period of time this spring. We had one great-crested flycatcher nest in one box this season. We also had 3 boxes with eastern screech owl pellets, indicating that this rarely observed small owl at least visited the property probably during their autumn migration.