Maryland Wood Duck Initiative - A Total Wetland Experience
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B&W illustration of wood duck nest box

There are many types of 
suitable nest material - 
wood chips, cedar shavings,
cedar mulch, cypress 
mulch,untreated hardwood
/shredded mulch. Even 
straw, pine needles, and 
sawdust will work.

MWDI Forms

To facilitate and promote consistency in data collection and the interpretation of nest results, MWDI provides forms to establish project site box profiles and to monitor & analyze results.

Please download Field Inspection and Nest Box Profile forms from the links below. These forms are provided in both Microsoft Excel and PDF formats and are set up to be printed at 11" x 8 1/2" (letter - landscape).

Nest Box Profile Form
The Nest Box Profile Form spreadsheet provide a way to develop a numbering sequence, by area and by the basic box facts:

  • Nest box condition

  • Predator guard type and condition

  • Box placement category

  • Habitat information

The form also includes many other qualitative items such as access issues (hip boots, chest wader, boat, ladder requirements, tide issues - by box as needed, projected repair scenario, predator issues, distance between boxes and other things to watch for.

The box placement category "Visibly Isolated" is somewhat subjective but it does provide an important piece of information on which nest results often hinge. If a box is visibly isolated, i.e. well hidden, it may relate to future nest dumping and/or usability factors.

Nest Box Profile Forms

  • Nest Box Profile Form (Excel)

  • Nest Box Profile Form (PDF File)

  • Nest Inspection Summary Forms

    The MWDI Field Inspection Forms Excel Worksheet includes an example with explanatory notes, a blanks sheet showing summary results desired, and a blank sheet with no summary data sections. The Nest Box Field Inspection Form and the Example of Nest Inspection Detailed Analysis should be relatively self-explanatory.

    Nest Box Inspection Forms

  • Nest Box Field Inspection Forms
    (Excel Worksheets - includes all inspection forms)
  • Sample Form with Explanatory Notes (PDF File)
  • Sample Data Sheet Form (PDF File)
  • Blank Data Sheet Form (PDF File)
  • Note: For one-time or final nest inspections, certain information is not needed. However, information about nest type (Normal or Dump) and Nest Cover (None, Nest Material, Down) are very important diagnostics to record as final and chronological nest progress indicators.

    For example, nest abandonment analysis is facilitated if nest progression is known and the number of eggs left behind or how they look when destroyed is described. Consider the following examples:

    • If down is left in a bowl-like shape not covering all eggs (with duck poop on them), this is very telling! It means the hen was scared off the nest and never returned.

    • A normal nest (15 eggs or less) with down covering all eggs, but abandoned, is an indicator that the hen may have been killed while away from the nest, as everything left behind was in good order.

    • A nest with down and all eggs hatched or with membranes strongly suggests snake predation, as the hen got to the incubation stage (e.g.. the down covering) but the snake ate them all and left.

    • A dump nest with no egg covering strongly suggests nest strife as an abandonment reason, especially if several eggs are cracked and/or yolk is spread around the box.

    • A nest with 1-3 eggs and no cover strongly suggest a "drop" nest, one which the hen(s) never intended to incubate but perhaps wanted to hedge their productivity risk by leaving an egg or two for another hen to take over.

    We are routinely revising these forms to make them more user-friendly and relevant. Hopefully, this will simplify your own personalized forms development. If you have suggestions for improvement or any questions regarding the use of the forms or how to submit completed forms, please let me know via email: Cliff Brown at

    Maryland Wood Duck Initiative logo & Photo Collage

    This page updated on March 07, 2012