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.
The 2020 nesting season is well underway and early results are encouraging. 2019 results at ~6,700 ducklings were modestly above the 6,646 recorded in 2018. In the 2016-2017 seasons the estimated hatch from public sites was 7,500-7,600. As reported previously, MWDI “lost” several key sites that accounted for approximately 25% of this decline, mostly from the USF&W cancellation of the project at Patuxent River Refuge and reservoir silting at Loch Raven and Liberty. The balance of the decline was generally poor nesting results as well as less than desired supervision on certain projects. There were 115 public sites in 2019 and ~ 1,700 functional boxes.
For the 2020 season, MWDI has culled several additional small sites where supervision was also less than desired. Favorable strides have been made elsewhere in terms of project rehabilitation and supervision. We expect the hatch in 2020 will, in part, reflect these measures.
MWDI has continued with its annual cypress lumber order for our own needs and to assist private programs. These projects continue to grow by 100-125 boxes annually. Demand outstripped supply and we expect further growth in these programs in 2021. MWDI has been involved in projects utilizing more than 2,000 private boxes and we estimate there are at least 3,000 functional nest boxes on private lands.
Youth assembly events have continued although COVID 19 has caused the early 2020 even
MWDI has supplies for new public projects if you wish to initiate one. We review site habitat, assist box location and train volunteers but you must have a project manager identified to monitor the project after installation. MWDI is also ready to assist all private projects.
There are predator guard supplies readily available. Cypress bluebird kits and boxes were also a big hit this year and we’ll continue to seek more of these orders as it helps to get as much lumber on the truck from South Carolina as we can!
As always, a huge “thank you” to our dedicated volunteers for helping to make a difference.
Maryland Wood Duck Initiative
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)