Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Duck boxes

Currituck, North Carolina 

These duck boxes, intended for wood ducks (aix sponsa), have seen better days. Wood duck ducklings leave the nest and drop into the water the day after they are hatched and although the mother duck calls to them and stays close, the ducklings can swim and find their own food.

Duck boxes have been a key element in the conservation of this species. Before the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty, the population of wood ducks was gravely endangered. Regulation of market hunting, habitat protection and the proliferation of artificial nesting boxes brought the wood duck from the brink of extinction to what is today a healthy population.

As we approached these duck boxes in the inflatable boar, the air was filled with hundreds of ducks. Flight after flight rose into the air and disappeared into the swamp. A few blurry pictures of distant ducks on the wing was all I could manage; these dilapidated nesting boxes were the best I could do duck-wise.

(Read here about wood ducks on the Scuppernong river from a 2011 swamp trip.)


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