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Homemade Nest Boxes For Cavity-Nesting Ducks

Maintenance


Nest boxes must be checked at least once each year, preferably in late March, shortly before the birds return to nest. At this time repairs can be made, debris cleaned out, sawdust and shavings loosened, and fresh material added. Also, the nestbox contents can be examined for evidence of egg shells, membranes and down indicating use in the previous year (Figure 19). One may find the house filled with nest material carried there by other animals or birds such as squirrels, starlings or sparrows. Each box should be opened, cleaned, thoroughly inspected and refilled with fresh material.

GIF-A tree cut down by a beaver GIF-A vandalized nest box
GIF-A metal box on a fallen tree
Figure 19. Sometimes even the best plans for mounting nest boxes in trees can go awry. The above picture depicts the fate of one metal nest box that was placed in a tree that beavers had other ideas about and a wood box that was vandalized. Annual maintenance is the only way to assure your nest box will be avialable for use.

In some areas, starlings and house sparrows may occupy boxes, making them unavailable to cavity-nesting ducks. Whenever this happens, it is advisable to promptly remove the nest and eggs. The starlings and house sparrows are the only songbirds which are not federally protected.

GIF-Maintenance of a Nest Box

Again, all nest boxes must be maintained annually. The contents of each box must be cleaned out and fresh nesting material added.


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