Although wood ducks are abundant nowadays, they nearly went extinct in the early 1900’s. Passage of the Migratory Bird Treat Act in 1918 likely saved this species. Prior to the act, harvest of waterfowl was largely unregulated and wood ducks suffered heavy losses. Also, forestry practices at the time and up until about 50 years ago, removed all dead trees. It was these trees (often called “snags”) that provided the cavities that wood ducks used for nesting. Over the last several decades, thousands of wood duck nest boxes have been erected nationwide to benefit woodies. CWA has been a part of this effort, building 50 to 100 boxes annually. These boxes are used by the DEEP’s Wildlife Division and others.
Nest boxes provide optimal nest sites and can improve hatching success. In Connecticut, nest boxes located over water average 70 to 90 percent hatching success compared to about 50 percent for natural cavities. However, to be successful boxes must be placed in proper locations. If you plan on erecting wood duck boxes, please contact the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Migratory Game Bird Program (860-424-3011) to obtain information on box location, maintenance and data collection.