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Homemade Nest Boxes For Cavity-Nesting Ducks

Life Histories

Wood ducks, hooded mergansers, common goldeneyes and buffleheads occur locally throughout the state along streams, lakes and reservoirs which have wooded shorelines. Although North Dakota is on the fringe of the range for these widely distributed ducks, people can do much to increase the productivity and abundance of these species by providing nesting boxes in suitable habitats.

Banding studies have shown that the hens have a pronounced homing tendency and will return to nest in the same general area where they were raised. Newly hatched ducklings, during the first few hours after emerging from the egg, obtain a lasting impression of certain aspects of their environment through a rapid learning process called imprinting. Ducklings are imprinted to know the calls of their mother and it is likely that they are also imprinted to the type of nest in which they hatched. Females hatched in a nest box will, therefore, tend to seek similar sites when they reach nesting age. Once a female has successfully nested in a nest box, she tends to return to the same box the following year.

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