Maryland Wood Duck Initiative

Maryland Wood Duck Initiative Logo 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.

MWDI’s 2019 Lumber, Kit and Box Orders​

MWDI is once again aggregating orders with its lumber purchase for public projects to provide wholesale pricing to private program sponsors. The lumber cost component reflects MWDI’s expected direct costs for wood, shipping and waste. MWDI has made arrangements to have the wood cut into kits or assembled into boxes if preferred. The costs are the same as 2017 & 2018. Read more....​

Boxes / kits do not include predator guards or poles. Metal, cone shaped predator guards can be obtained for $14 + tax each from Phoenix Metals (Brian Wisnieski 410-633-0685 ext 18.​ ). Baltimore location. Shipping extra out of state.

Predator Guards for Sale - $14 plus 6% Sales Tax: $14.84 each
Thanks to Phoenix Metal for this reduced price!

November 2019 Director’s Message

2019 hatch results are still being compiled and the outlook looks to be a “stable to slightly down” production year from the approximate 1,700 boxes being monitored on more than 115 sites.

For reference, the estimated hatch for the 2018 nesting season was 6,646 ducklings which represented one of the largest drops in annual production (11%) recorded by MWDI since 2004. The 2017 hatch was estimated at 7,507 which was itself a 1% drop from the 2016 level of 7,603 ducklings.

About 25% of this decline relates to abandonment of several sites where supervision is no longer feasible (silting, access and project cancelation at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge by USF&W officials.)

Nesting habitat was generally favorable during the past 2-3 years although the summer drought this year may have impacted brood survival. DNR banding was way down in northern Eastern Shore region but strong in central and southern Eastern Shore areas.

Private programs and production (which may significantly exceed that on public lands) may have fared better in the aggregate based on the verbal and data reports submitted to MWDI. This information is not as empirical as that which MWDI collects and formation of specific estimates is not really practical. Private sponsorship of nesting programs is growing faster than the stable to modest pace on public sites with about 100 new boxes being added annually. MWDI estimates that there are more than 3,000 nesting boxes on private lands – roughly twice that of public lands.

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. New sites on private lands also continue to grow and MWDI is assisting in various ways.

As always, a huge “thank you” to our dedicated volunteers for helping to make a difference.


Cliff Brown
Executive Director
Maryland Wood Duck Initiative