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.
MWDI does have 5 blue bird kits left over from the
cut day (someone reneged on their order!) if anyone is interested: $11.50 a kit. Contact Cliff Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preliminary indications based on ~60% data collection from ~1,800 boxes suggest Maryland public lands wood duck production will be in the 8,200-8,300 duckling range. Several of the larger sites appear to be down modestly – moderately except Jug Bay / Patuxent State Park where a notable increase to potentially record levels exceeding 900 ducklings was noted.
Heavy rains were experienced across much of Maryland in the spring and early summer and despite the July / August heat additional downpours have helped re-charge brood habitat. Casual observations from many sources of woodies, however, have not been “robust” this summer.
Eleven new projects have been initiated involving some 62 boxes the past 18 months and various replenishment and expansions have also occurred involving 30 boxes. Assembled box inventory has been almost depleted as a result. Fiscal support for replenishment lumber needs has been re-affirmed by the Safari Club’s Chesapeake Chapter and re-imbursement of lumber associated with a Discovery Channel community service box build via Patuxent State Park will also add more kits this winter. Youth box assembly events continue with 3 more planned in September/October.
Predator guard supplies – thanks to Maryland DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service continuing support are in good shape but we can always use more street sign poles. In November, MWDI will again offer private program sponsors who wish to participate in our cypress lumber order from South Carolina for kits or boxes. These supplies are provided at cost. Lumber and assembled bluebird boxes are also available. Maryland Waterfowlers has also continued to make available predator guards at a reasonable price.
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. We are continuing to experience a slow erosion in monitoring of certain sites which we need to address. Lately, this process has suffered further due to my time constraints but I expect to accelerate volunteer replacement on certain key sites this fall and before next nest season as we have a modest backlog of willing participants to train.
As always, thank you to our dedicated volunteers for helping to make a difference.
Maryland Wood Duck Initiative
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401