Thursday, 13 June 2019

Wood duck nesting boxes 2019

2019 report
I have three nesting boxes on the frog pond. Two of the three have hatched out. The last one hadn't hatched yesterday. We'll see what happens today.

Box #1 was the 2nd one to be filled. Hatched May 27th. 12 eggs.
Box #2 is due to hatch around June 5th, 10 eggs. 
Box #3 is the earliest to have been laid. They hatched May 30th. There were 22 eggs! 

May 3

Box #1 has about 9 eggs in it.

May 9th Box #3 is full; click here for the video

May 23 – We are waiting!

Box #1 was the 2nd one to be filled. Hatch day May 30th. 12 eggs.
Box #2 is due to hatch around June 5th. 12 eggs. The raccoons have been trying to get at it.
Box #3 is the earliest to have been laid. They are due to hatch May 21st or so. There are 22 eggs! Usually they lay 6 - 15, but I think someone (without a nest box) has been sneaking in!

Sadly, my friend's wood duck eggs were killed by a fisher last week. Right in their back. They watched in horror.

"Once threatened with near extinction, populations of one of North America’s most recognizable and celebrated waterfowl are now stable or increasing."
Despite its importance in population dynamics, duckling survival is one of the most poorly understood components of the waterfowl life cycle. It takes 50-70 days for ducklings to attain flight status, and survival during this period is highly variable, ranging from less than 10 percent to as high as 70 percent. The most common causes of duckling mortality include predation, adverse weather conditions, starvation, disease, and parasites. Ducklings are excellent fare for nearly every type of predator, including fish (largemouth bass and northern pike), amphibians (bullfrogs), reptiles (snakes and snapping turtles), and mammals (foxes, raccoons, mink, and feral cats). Likewise, other birds such as hawks, owls, gulls, herons, and crows will make a meal of ducklings.

May 26 – I was in for a surprise

After watching box #3 closely, it could hatch any day now, I was surprised by seeing ducklings in box #1. They shouldn't be ready!

May 27th – Box #1 is empty

Jump for freedom 7:38 a.m. I managed to capture a video of an egg hatching. Then, I went back, having moved the videocam, and captured them leaving the nest. One duckling remains on the pond, which isn't good. She should have followed momma into the depths of the wetland.

May 30th – Box #3 is empty

I had NOTHING on the trailcams. How disappointing. I am part of citizen science Bird Studies Canada Project Nest Watch Canada. They won't be back, and I'll not see the ducklings again. It's too dangerous on the pond. 

This is a little duckling, trailing after its mother and siblings, headed for the safety of the deep wetland. I spotted it a couple of years ago. They'd come from across the highway and the lake.

They've done well to survive and I wish them well in the wetland. I've now watched 34 eggs (12 + 22) hatch out 29 chicks from two of the nesting boxes. 

May 31st

I'm having a hard time getting photos of the jump off. 
 Can you see her in these two photos? This is all I get. The ducklings are too small to trigger it, I think.

April 23

Box # 3. I walked down to the pond, and flushed her from the nest though I didn't mean to. She heard me coming and scampered. I counted 5 or 6 eggs.

April 22

Three ducks in three nesting boxes! No downy feathers yet.

April 19

April 17

 wood ducks from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

April 8th

This is the last box to have a tenant. I went down June 8th, and she was still on the nest. The eggs showed no signs of hatching. On June 9th, the box was empty and 10 ducklings are off on an adventure. NOTHING on either trailcam. I am so disappointed. We're done for the year.

We've had some cold temperatures, but they were to hatch on or after June 5th.
Sadly, the crows had been harassing her.

Here she is hopping back into the box.

The last few days continued to be cool. They are tucked and cozy inside the box, with wood shavings. On top of that, downy feathers. I estimated 10 eggs by gently feeling inside the box.
She is bothered by critters enough. The crow in the day, Butch raccoon by night. I have failed to capture much on the trailcams.
Suddenly, on the weekend, we had higher temperatures and sunshine. It was a fine weekend. Sunday morning, they were gone.


eileeninmd said...

Oh my, what a lovely wood duck family. The babies are adorable.
Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend ahead!

RedPat said...

I hope they made it safely away!

Nancy J said...

Lovely babies in the nest, one day you will capture their flight. Looks like you at last have some really spring-like days.

William Kendall said...

You've given the family a safe start, and that's a good thing.

Anvilcloud said...

Too bad their stay is so brief.

Evi Erlinda said...

Cute babies :)

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Oh I too wish you had caught more on camera, however so happy they seem to have fledged safety! Interesting and thanks for sharing, Jenn.