Wednesday 1 February 2023

More work to do!

Welcome to February! It's -17 C., and time to snuggle indoors with a blanket! Spring is coming. For sure!

🦆Wood duck nesting boxes <= I've been tracking and reporting nest production over the years. I put up my first nesting box in 2014: Wood duck on the nest. They were successful duckies, and I managed to go down to the pond when they were taking off out of the nest: Miracle of nature: wood ducks.

You have to put a baffle around the base. One year the weasel took all the eggs out of the nest. I think it must have jumped from the surrounding trees onto the dead elm. The ducks did not come back. The other nest with eggs was untouched.

The poor tree was on its last legs, shedding bark. Time to move the nest box. The box is attached by a roofing nail on the top, and 3" screw and a strap on the base kept it firmly attached. At the time, a step ladder was involved.

Another year, I had dratted red squirrel make a drey, a nest, in this box! Red squirrel usurps wood duck nesting box:

Since then, I now have a total of three nesting boxes, but the first one has been empty for a couple of years. Essentially, after the weasel incident. We had ducks nest last year, but only in the one box. People around the nearby lake have put them up, and I think they prefer being on the lake. The ducks, not the people! Well, the people, too.

Here are nest boxes #2 and #3.

Attempt #1 – Jan. 24

I was determined to move it. I was much less determined last year! I only thought about it. I should have done it when I had helpers. Anyway, I was having trouble getting it off the dead tree. The screwdrivers wouldn't do it, I took three down with me and finally managed removing the lower screw, using the cordless drill. I remembered that the top 'screw' was a nail. Back to the drawing board. Having gone down January 24th to work on it, and making little progress, I thought I'd better fetch some other tools.  

Attempt #2 – Jan. 29

There were a couple of days of snow removal. I put it off this project for a couple of days. Suiting up, snowshoes on, and managing to get the screw out with the drill, I only had a roofing nail to deal with. Or so I thought. My hammer bent. That elm is a hardwood! 

Attempt #3 – Jan. 30

Down I went with the sled. It was snowy, and I ought to have finished the job before more snow fell. I knocked the dead tree over, it was ready to go. Much easier to take it off when I can reach it. But it had uncovered. I found it!

First I had to brush off the snow. I had several tools, but used the hacksaw to cut off the nail. That worked. Except, there was a hex bolt of some sort, a third attachment for which I was unprepared. I had forgotten how I'd attached it! Back up to the house. A shower and feet up ensued.

I left the box there, and hoped we didn't get too much more snow. One of these might work. I shall try it another day. 

Attempt #4 – Jan. 31

It was a lovely walk. I'd been down with snowshoes the day before, and it was easier going. The snow is shin deep. The deer follow my tracks. 

I like looking at the pond, and imagining all the critters safely tucked into the mud, protected by ice and snow.

Finally, the tool of choice were the small vice grips. I loaded the old box onto the sled and dragged it up to the house. 

The next thing to do is to choose another tree on a different part of the wetland. I have time, as the ducks won't be back for awhile. I'm thinking putting it at The Point. My first camera, a PlantCam, was pretty bad, but it did show me where the ducks hang out, as well as on the frogpond. 

This is the middle of the wetland, I did a 360˚ view. As I said on the video, it was so peaceful and quiet. Jan., 2019. There are lots of trees, but the ducks need air space in which to fly to the nest, and I have to be able to clean it out. 


Tom said... never stops.

Patio Postcards said...

How wonderful to have had wood ducks nesting in the box(es). Fingers crossed all your effort this winter to repair & relocate the nest box will pay off with new tenants.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You are certainly determined to get that dick box in just the right spot and removed from the old tree! I think determination is your middle name!

Barbara Rogers said...

Well after all that work, I do hope there are some wood ducks who appreciate it! I love seeing them on our lakes when they happen to be here, but it's rare that I'm by the lakes these days! Either too cold or I'm sick. What a combo!

Jeanie said...

Wow. I can't begin to imagine doing all you do and you have my greatest respect! (Glad you fell into soft snow and not hard ice and are OK!)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I admire your energy and determination to see these tasks through! YAM xx

Divers and Sundry said...

and I think it's cold here! Brrrr!!!

I hope you get ducks to appreciate your hard work.

Elephant's Child said...

Well done - and thank you.

RedPat said...

I hope all the creatures appreciate all the work that you do for them.

DrumMajor said...

You must be the sister of Euell Gibbons was it, that talked about wild hickory nuts! I'm surprised you don't have a tiny shack out there in your snowy woods. Be careful falling and protect your fingers from the duck box renovations! Linda in cold Kansas

Angie said...

Jenn - well done to persevere. Just think of all the exercise you got making multiple trips, all the while tamping down the path for your deer buddies! I look forward to seeing the nesting results later this year!

Anvilcloud said...

You are tenacious and never duck your responsibilities.