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Wood Duck - Habitat Requirements
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Wood Duck - Habitat Requirements

Wood Duck
(Aix sponsa)

Habitat Requirements


General

Wood ducks nest in woodland areas along lakes, rivers, and vegetated wetland areas. During the winter months, wood ducks inhabit bottomland hardwood wetlands, beaver ponds and flowages, river oxbows, meanders and backwaters, and other inland freshwater forested wetland areas. Habitat areas chosen by wood ducks are commonly used by other waterfowl species such as black ducks, hooded mergansers, and ring-necked ducks. High-quality wood duck habitat is intricately linked to preservation and management of old growth timber along river corridors and availability of nesting sites. Although wood duck populations have recovered, the largest threat to their future is the continued loss of habitat. By protecting and restoring floodplain timber, river oxbows and meanders, and other freshwater wetland and riparian habitats, landowners can assist in the continued success of wood ducks and other migratory waterfowl species that rely on similar habitats.

Food

Food for young birds and adults differs dramatically. The early diet of ducklings consists largely of insects, aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and other high-protein animal material. After six weeks of age, the young switch to plant foods until their diet consists of approximately 90 percent vegetative material, primarily aquatic plants such as algae, watermeal, watershield, sago pondweed, and duckweed. Adult wood ducks feed on a variety of nuts and fruits, aquatic plants and seeds, and aquatic insects and other invertebrates. Insects and aquatic invertebrates are particularly important food items of adult hens during egg laying in spring. Acorns and other forest mast are important fall and winter foods. While acorns are the primary winter foods, the seeds of bald cypress, hickory, sweet gum, buttonbush, arrow-arum, bur-reed, and wild rice are also common winter foods. Wood ducks feed primarily in shallow water areas, but will also forage on the forest floor for seeds, acorns, and nuts.

Important wood duck food plants. The following species are known to be important food items in the diet of wood ducks. Those species in bold print are of particular value for their usefulness as a winter food source.

oak (acorns) hickory (nuts) elm bald cypress beech (nuts) sweet gum ash button bush maple blackgum bur-reed rice cutgrass arrow-arum wild rice sedge smartweeds barnyard grass nightshade cowlily beggarticks duckweed grape St. John's-wort panic grasses bulrush pondweed watershield waterlily

These species may be used to enhance vegetation which already exists in and around woodland areas and aquatic habitats. Adding these species to those currently existing will enhance food availability for wood ducks.
   
Heartwood Wood Duck Joy Box Birdhouse
John James Audubon did some of his most famous bird drawings as he explored on foot along the Natchez Trace, which happens to be located near Star, Mississippi, where we design and make all our Heartwood homes. While birding has come a long way since Audubon's time, today with our four-season nesting boxes and basic homes, you don't need to go to anywhere to enjoy all manner of wonderful bird life flocking to your door. Discreet complements to any landscape, these hardy havens are convenient, long lasting and beautiful-the picture perfect start to your life in birding! Season after season, this delightful nesting box is a joy to behold and a breeze to maintain thanks to easy twist latch and slide-front panel that also inverts for winter roosting. So easy to use, so easy to love, it turns birding into child's play! Rugged construction features 13/16" solid cypress and headed ring shank stainless steel nails.
Dimensions: 11" x 12" x 24 1/2"; 4" hole
Made in the USA!

   
Coveside Bufflehead Duck House
The Bufflehead, with its striking white sides and white patch on its head, is smaller than most cavity nesting ducks.Dependent on nest boxes, this house is ideal due to the scarcity of holes excavated by a large woodpecker or flicker.
RANGE: Breeds in Alaska east to western Quebec, and south in mountains to Washington and Montana. Winters in southern U.S., south to Mexico, Gulf Coast and northern Florida.
HABITAT: Nests on wooded lakes and ponds; winters mainly on salt bays and estuaries.

(17-3/4"h x 9-1/4"w x 11"d)

   
Coveside Common Merganser Duck House
This house provides a perfect nest box for mergansers that normally nest in tree cavities. Positioning a house on a pole in the open water provides extra protection from predators.
RANGE: Breeds across Canada from eastern Alaska, Manitoba and Newfoundland south in mountains to California, northern New Mexico, Great Lakes and northern New England. Winters south to northern Mexico and Georgia; also in Eurasia.
HABITAT: Breeds on wooded rivers and ponds; winters mainly on lakes and rivers, occasionally on salt water.

(24-1/4"h x 11"w x 13"d)


   
Coveside Small Wood Duck House
"Dump nesting" occurs when a number of females lay eggs in a single house, which sometimes results in clutches with over 70 eggs. Mississippi State University did a study of Wood Ducks in an effort to reduce this problem. A smaller nest box was designed and "dump nesting" was reduced. Although fewer ducklings are fledged from each box, the survival rate is improved and the cost per fledgling is less. This box comes with a wire ladder and nesting chips, and the front opens for observation and cleaning.
RANGE: Breeds from British Columbia south to California, and from Montana east to Nova Scotia, and south to Texas and Florida; absent from Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. Winters near Pacific Coast north to Washington, and to New Jersey in East, rarely further north.
HABITAT: Nests beside wooded rivers and ponds. Visits freshwater marshes in late summer and fall.

(17"h x 7-1/2"w x 15"d)

Coveside Wood Hooded Merganser Duck House
Coveside's Wood Duck House opens two ways for observation and cleaning, and has an internal ladder for the duckings to climb out. Mother calls ducklings to the protection of the open water at age one day.
RANGE: Breeds from British Columbia south to California, and from Montana east to Nova Scotia, and south to Texas and Florida; absent from Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. Winters near Pacific Coast north to Washington, and to New Jersey in East, rarely further north.
HABITAT: Nests beside wooded rivers and ponds. Visits freshwater marshes in late summer and fall.

(24-1/4"h x 11"w x 15"d)


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