Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wood Duck Box Maintenance


Central Carolina Technical College's Natural Resource Management Program students met with the SCDNR this morning to help do maintenance on the wood duck boxes at Hickory Top WMA. DNR's Chris Orange and Ed Laney were on hand to give instruction on the details of the Wood Duck Box Program, and the students then went about wading through the flooded areas to count eggs, clean out old debris, remark the boxes, and add new shavings for bedding.

Orange warned the students about some of the dangers of this project--including wasps, snakes, and alligators, but fortunately no such pests were encountered this time. The remains of several hatched eggs were found as well as a couple of unhatched eggs.

The boxes are important to wood ducks because they provide additional nesting sites, and are equipped with predator shields that do a much better job at keeping out snakes and such than an unshielded hole in a tree does.

Want to make your own wood duck boxes? Visit this portion of the SCDNR website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/woodduck/index.html.

PhotosByBrianCope: Kellen Thompkins (foreground) and Justin Leviner (behind duck box) are students in CCTC's NRM program, and are seen here checking a wood duck box. These two unhealthy eggs went unhatched, and were discarded prior to installing new wood shavings.

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