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.

The 2022 lumber / predator guard order window is now in progress until December 31, 2022. Please see the attached flyer​. Orders must be prepaid and will be delivered in February, 2023. MWDI does maintain any inventory to sell following this order window so please place your wood duck or bluebird orders now! Predator guards can be supplied year round. The price is $22 plus tax 6% ($23.32 in total).

Please email: with questions.

MWDI has made arrangements with Aaron Ward to purchase some "spec" lumber to be able to offer another 40-45 completed boxes. For subsequent orders, while supplies last, please contact Aaron at or 410-251-3838 for pricing and details.​

Predator Guards for Sale

February 2023 Director’s Message

MWDI’s lumber order will result in 140+ boxes being produced for public and private sites. Arrangements with Aaron Ward to purchase some "spec" lumber and he has about 20 boxes left to purchase if interested. Please contact Aaron at or 410-251-3838 for pricing. Predator guards remain in ample supply. Contact MWDI or Phoenix Metals as indicated elsewhere on the website.

With about 40% of the nest sites reporting, the 2022 woodie hatch from MWDI’s public sites is once again expected to approximate the 2018-2021 seasons at around 6,700 ducklings from 110 projects involving ~1,600 boxes. MWDI has continued to cull several small sites where results and supervision was also less than desired. Final reporting in a couple of the larger sites (Chicamicomico River (Dor) and Chesapeake Farms (Kent) which typically account for 750-900 ducklings have yet to be conducted. Two other large sites produced ~600 ducklings each - Millington WMA (Kent) had another strong year, offset by Patuxent State park – Jug Bay (PG) seeing a 25% decline.

Private nesting programs will expand favorably by ~75-100 new nest boxes for the 2023 season consistent with the past few years. The contribution of artificial nesting programs to Maryland’s overall wood duck population continues to grow favorably and aggregate production from private sponsors is estimated to be well above that hatched on public lands. MWDI’s primary focus the past few years has been increasingly to support new private programs by site inspection, program advice and access to relatively low cost materials. Our public site focus has been to replenish nests as needed although a new 20 box project on the Mattawoman Creek offers great promise.

MD DNR is continuing its duckling web tagging program from nest boxes to study their productivity. MD DNR also bands 400-450 woodies annually so be on the lookout this fall for not only leg bands but very small web tags and please report them!

Overall, AF managers believe that the wood duck population to be stable and a generally positive variable in establishing overall AF harvest regulations. Maryland is doing their part.

MWDI will have 50+ kits by March 2023 for those interested to host a corporate or youth assembly event. In 2022, Jeremy Amaya supported MWDI by assembling 40 boxes to fulfill his community service hours. Subsequently, he and his father, Jose, also volunteered to assist monitoring at McKee Beshers WMA and they did yeoman’s work extracting boxes, guards and poles from the failed Monacacy River project. Special thanks to the Amaya family!

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.

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

Cliff Brown