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 2023 lumber / predator guard order window is now in progress until December 31, 2023. Please see the attached flyer​. Orders must be prepaid and will be delivered in February, 2024. 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).

To help determine our sourcing, volume needs, and prospective shipping costs, MWDI asks that you email Aaron at to indicate your prospective interest and the number of boxes/kits you would like. This indication is non-binding. A follow-up flyer will be sent soon with specific pricing and other details. At that time, prepayment will be necessary to confirm the order.

Please email: with questions.

Predator Guards for Sale

December 2023 Director’s Message


MWDI’s lumber order is underway. Aaron Ward is handling all aspects for MWD (, cell 410-251-3838) although I will continue to assist in coordinating deliveries for boxes and guards. Predator guards are in ample supply and prices are unchanged from last year. Contact MWDI or Phoenix Metals as indicated elsewhere on the website.

The 2022​ woodie hatch from MWDI’s public sites was estimated to again approximate the 2018-2022 seasons at around 6,700 ducklings from 100+ projects involving ~1,500 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. Our initial results from the new Mattawoman site are to be reported soon. The overall results were very mixed by project and regionally. For example, Kent County had a noticeably down year and a large private program in Talbot was also considerably down. Patuxent State Park in PG Co, however, rebounded favorably from 2022. Visual observations and hunting success during the fall have been relatively weak which also suggests that brood survival may have also been poor.

Private nesting programs continued to 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.

MD DNR is continuing its banding statewide and the duckling web tagging program at Millington WMA . They also outfitted a moderate number of woodies with transmitters – please report all bans, web tags and especially the transmitters!

A special note of thanks is due Bill Harvey, Head of DNR’s Game Bird Section, and Don Webster, a waterfowl and habitat specialist, both of whom retired recently after distinguished wildlife careers. Both were instrumental in the formation and development of MWDI for the past 20 years! MWDI is pleased to report that the Grand National Waterfowl Association has agreed to underwrite the complete renovation of the Chicamicomico River site in Dorchester Co. The plan is to install ~70 new boxes and predator guards and to lift the placement of several so they are not snake prone. Activity has begun and the project will be completed by early March 2024. In conjunction with this, Cub Scout troop 484 in Anne Arundel Co in association with Annapolis Ducks Unlimited and MWDI will host an assembly event for ~80 scouts assembling ~45 boxes. The Amaya brothers will again assemble ~20 to earn more Montgomery Co. community service hours. The assembly of another 20 boxes by the Environmental Science class of Wicomico High School will fulfill MWDI’s needs on this project and more!

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