Maryland Wood Duck Initiative - A Total Wetland Experience
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Project Reports

2012 Public Lands Wood Duck
Hatch Summary and Detailed Analysis

2004-2012 MWDI Public Lands Hatch Chart

 

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Boxes

1,146

1,263

1,408

1,476

1,524

1,652

1,743

1,716

1,708

Ducklings / Box

2.4

2.7

3.1

4.0

4.3

4.1

4.3

4.4

4.5

Number of Sites

20

21

25

36

51

70

77

85

86

Production from 86 sites and 1,708 boxes was estimated at 7,179 ducklings versus 7,530 ducklings (85 sites / 1,716 boxes) in 2011. This 5% drop may be attributed to several factors.

  • Mid-season drought seemed to curtail use in several sites.

  • Box loss caused by river trauma and other uncontrollable factors offset the installation of 87 new boxes – 42 on new sites and 45 as replacements or expansions of existing projects.

  • The continued conservative production estimates for certain sites that were not inspected (roughly a 100 duckling “penalty” from what timely inspections and monitoring might have yielded).

  • A substantial decline in hatch success at the Chicamicomico site (73% to 43% resulting in 309 fewer ducklings)

  • Modestly lower efficiency as measured by use and Success nest % and eggs per Success nest. 

  • Slow project maturation relative to prior trends.

  • The inability to check 25 boxes in 3 sites (estimates excluded from totals).

Very simplistically, after subjectively adjusting for the somewhat anomalous variables, the hatch result suggests a “flattening” of production around the 7,400-7,500 level during the past 3 years. Net project sites and boxes have been generally flat during this time as well (9 net sites have been added the past 3 years after consideration for the 13 dropped sites. Box totals have dropped despite the net site gain but this drop is regarded as being anomalous for the reasons cited above.  The increased federal harvest limit to three woodies daily is also regarded as having a curtailing impact on Maryland’s box use and production.  

Click here for detailed Hatch Summary and Analysis, including tables depicting the hatch and productivity of each MWDI site in 2012.

The most useful aspect from this analysis I hope will be that each site manager and all private program sponsors can compare their results with other MWDI site or their own. Several MWDI’s sites are still maturing and production reflects that.  MWDI continues to cull projects where we have concluded a “Best Practices” reporting and monitoring program cannot be pragmatically accomplished or where habitat conditions change / results confirm low production potential.

The Maryland Wood Duck Initiative is an all-volunteer wildlife conservation effort started in late 2004. Our objectives are to enhance Maryland’s wood duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which they live by advocating and demonstrating the merits of a “best practices” approach in managed nest programs.

Leveraging these focused efforts on the wood duck, we seek to provide a Total Wetlands Experience for our volunteers and the “next generation” through the development of complementary educational programs, internships and research projects.

 

Maryland Wood Duck Initiative logo & Photo Collage

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