|Wood Duck Box Ready for Nesting |
in Wet Weather Pond - Feb. 2020
The outdoors calendar wanes some during the month of February, especially if we get the typical wet weather that the Lowcountry is experiencing in 2020. Duck season ended with a whimper and wood ducks might have been the only species in the bag for wingshooters. Waterfowlers and birdwatchers can make a difference for wildlife by taking time now to maintain nesting boxes that benefit woodies and bluebirds. There is always a sense of adventure when cleaning out existing bird boxes, and each year adds a new tale to tell.
Lots of projects can be accomplished using boot leather, sweat equity and by hitching an implement up to a tractor, but erecting and maintaining wood ducks boxes requires a more specialized approach. In most cases, the woodland manager must don hip boots or waders to access a wood duck box. A stepladder, work gloves and a five-gallon bucket with wood shavings must be hauled into the woods before wading out into the flooded area that is prime wood duck habitat.
Setting up the ladder next to the wood duck box seems simple, but Lowcountry soils can become mushy when flooded and testing some weight on the first step to check for the sink-in factor is always important. It is not advisable to get three steps up on the ladder only to find that the back right leg is going to sink down 10-inches and tip you over, because the Lowcountry waters in February are very cold. While its possible to get soaking wet by accident, a combination of caution and experience can diminish such chances. Precarious is a good way to describe when you are standing atop a ladder in the swamp about to open the top of a wood duck box to reach down inside it and clean it out.
To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.