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. Unfortunately, the price has jumped substantially to $25 + tax per guard.

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

November 2021 Director’s Message

With about 50% of the nest sites reporting, the 2021 woodie hatch from MWDI’s public sites is expected to be essentially unchanged from the 2018-2020 season at around 6,700 ducklings from 110 projects involving ~1,700 boxes. MWDI has continued to cull several small sites where results and supervision was also less than desired. Locally (Kent and QA Counties), the hatch appears to have been off by some 20% although the Millington WMA had another strong year at about 600 ducklings.

Private nesting programs continued to expand favorably by ~100 new nest boxes in both 2020 and 2021 and the contribution of artificial nests to Maryland’s overall wood duck population is growing. MWDI guesstimates based on public site empirical data and varying degrees of private program information (risk assessed) that box programs account for 30-35% of Maryland’s nesting pairs using USF&W estimates on the distribution of nesting pairs throughout the Atlantic Flyway (AF). This data is not definitive but if reasonably accurate, indicates that Maryland has a relatively high proportion of its nesting pairs and by extrapolation, its fall flight population, compared to other states. USF&W with the cooperation of most AF states are continuing with their banding programs and are now also web tagging ducklings from nest boxes to study their productivity. In 2021, partial results from 550 web tagged Maryland ducklings suggest favorable brood survival rates from nest boxes but this study will require substantially more data. Maryland DNR bands 400-450 woodies annually – 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.

Covid continued to thwart our youth assembly events but we were able to have individual students needing community service hours to assemble 40 boxes. MWDI likely have another 100 kits by February 2022 for those interested to host a youth assembly event.

MWDI continues with its annual cypress lumber order for our own needs and to assist private programs. (see link for this year’s order). These projects continue to grow by 150-200 boxes annually. Demand outstripped supply last year and then supply was unavailable to get more wood.

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 for helping to make a difference.


Cliff Brown
Executive Director
Maryland Wood Duck Initiative