The Maryland Wood Duck Initiative is an all-volunteer wildlife conservation effort started in late 2004. Our objectives are to enhance Maryland’s wood duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which they live by advocating and demonstrating the merits of a “best practices” approach in managed nest programs.
Leveraging these focused efforts on the wood duck, we seek to provide a Total Wetlands Experience for our volunteers and the “next generation” through the development of complementary educational programs, internships and research projects.
Despite early season gains and
encouragement at two large sites, the tally elsewhere has been poor involving
about 50% of the nest boxes. Counts are not finalized but the overall yield may
indicate the most significant drop in production recorded by MWDI – an 8-12%
decline. Habitat has been very good but the drop in total eggs being laid and
the increased level of nests failures at modest – moderate clutch sizes is
My optimism for the final 2017
production summary was also misplaced as the total hatch dropped 1.5% to 7,746
from7,863 instead of exceeding 8,000 as projected. Production was from 117
sites involving 1,775 boxes. New sites the past two years while showing
moderate performance have been below expectations but this only accounts for a
portion of the decline as final reports from a host of smaller projects were
also below expectations. The annual survey routinely includes a drop in
production from old sites where supervision has been lacking. Gains elsewhere
were insufficient or non-existent to offset these estimated reductions.
The relationship with Phoenix
Metals continues to be great. We note that private program sponsors continue to
add predator guards at a more rapid pace than boxes which is a tangible “best
practices” enhancement that will benefit overall Maryland production.
Two additional box assembly events
have been held since April and two additional ones are scheduled for this fall
at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center and Maret School bringing MWDI’s
total to 6 this year.
MWDI has supplies for new public projects if you wish to initiate one. We will review site
habitat, assist box location and train volunteers but you must have a project
manager idetified to monitor the project after installation
As always, thank you to our dedicated volunteers for helping to make a difference.
Maryland Wood Duck Initiative
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401