Friday 29 May 2015

Wood duck nesting box: they flew the coop!

Wood duck Nesting Box #1
Male Wood duck
Males don't hang around!

Oh me, oh my. We had another marathon trip to Ottawa Hospital for an MRI. I couldn't be here for my ducks to fly. The Trailcam is terrible for grabbing photos of birds, especially the wetland ducks. They, unlike Loons and some other ducks, do not need to do a run to gain flight. They seem to jump up and are airborne. The Trailcam, meant for game animals, has a 5 second delay before it kicks in. It only takes a second for Wood ducks to rise up for glory. [This is yesterday's post, in case you missed it, showing the babies underneath momma!]

Last year I traipsed down at 3 p.m., just as they were scurrying across the pond. I was blessed! This is the video from 2014.

We arrived home at 8:39 p.m. Thursday night after a 4:30 p.m. appointment, just like Gillian GPS predicted. I tore down to the frog pond to grab the SD Card, switch it out, and run back up, followed by a kazillion mosquitoes. I must say I owe a debt of gratitude to a woodpecker, as you will see in the video. It set the trigger off, and in the background I could see Momma duck flying. They were there, then, at 6:14 p.m. It had to be after that, or early this morning, that all 12 little ducklings climbed up and out.

The 90-day survival rate is about 30 - 40%. 

Frog pond from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
 I repeated the wood duck momma flying twice, as she is so quick. No wonder I'm not getting her on the Trailcam.

I ventured down, in housecoat and pajamas, this morning at 7:30. The nesting box is totally empty. Last year she only hatched 5 of 10 eggs. This year, 12/12! Gone. Nothing on the Trailcam... I so sad, in a way! For those of us who are teachers, it's like moving on to the next homeroom class. You will seldom know what happened to last years batch. So, in that tradition, we still have a duck on the nest!

Wood duck nesting box #2

Wood duck egg - quite large!
This one did not hatch
 from the 2014 nest.

Crossing around the edge of the pond, which is sadly evaporating as vernal ponds do in summer, I figured I might as well check out nesting box #2. Daisy was sitting on a tree stump watching me.

Momma is on this nest and I was sure she was going to eat my snake scope. (I call it the snake scope, but it is an endoscope. This gives hubby the heebee jeebies. Snake scope is better!)

She began laying feathers May 19th, which is the prep before the eggs. They sit on them 28 - 37 days. I was most excited. *TWO* hatchings this year! The boxes aren't cheap, made to specs from recycled barn board, but so rewarding to think that I am helping these birds. With all the predators around, it's good to give them a place to nest and have a good start.

I don't know whether to keep the trailcam on her box, or put it out in the meadow to see if I can spot any newborn deer! The Robins are onto brood #2! Everything is sprouting. Our newest granddaughter is doing well out in Vancouver, as well! Our 5 and 7-year-old granddaughters will visit us next week for the week. Much fun is anticipated!

Nesting box #2 2015 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Momma duck #2 is in confinement! She went after the snake scope, protecting her eggs. Good girl. It's a dog-eat-dog world! I think there are about 7 -10 eggs.

So hard to tell how many eggs are here!


eileeninmd said...

Neat video, that is a fast flying duck! Happy Friday, have a great weekend!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
oh what shame to miss the big event... but rewarding to know that such a success!!! YAM xx

William Kendall said...

Momma duck doesn't like that camera!

Gill - That British Woman said...

those are monster bugs also on the trail cam as well.

Red said...

These little guys climb up the the nest box hole and jump. Some sit there for some time before they jump. You'll get it one of these times.

Kay said...

The mother duck is sure quick with the defensive moves. What a wonderful time spring is. There is so much to gaze at in wonder.

TexWisGirl said...

the woodpecker made me laugh. :) hope the wood ducks have a good brood!

A Colorful World said...

Oh what a wonderful job you are doing! I am so impressed! Yep, I bet she thought the camera was an actual snake, so snakescope is appropriate. :-) When we lived near the Dismal Swamp (Va & NC) there was a section that had a row of wood duck nesting boxes, some in bad disrepair. I always thought it would be neat to become a Master Conservationist, I think it's called (it's like Master Gardener, but deals with wildlife, not plants) and volunteer to repair the nest boxes. Only, I was ill by that time and the physical exertion that would have taken was sadly impossible. I have always thought wood ducks so neat, the way the babies just "fall" out of the box into the water, and they better fly or else. Loved your post!

Adam Jones said...

They are such good looking ducks. Very nice.

eileeninmd said...

Jen, stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Unknown said...

I hope the ducklings make it. Have a great time with your grandkids!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Those are neat videos! Looks like you and momma ducks are doing a great job.

EG CameraGirl said...

I love those ducks!