Cleaning Wood Duck Houses 2013

On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Central Wisconsin Fur, Fin, & Feather (CWF3) braved the cold weather and deep snow to clean wood duck houses on the Sportsman Lake in Owen, WI.  We were joined by a number of volunteers including Chad Klabon of the Black River Sportsman’s Club.

Nearly 14 wood duck houses are currently placed in various locations throughout the Sportsman Lake area based on ‘best-practice’ recommendations from a local DNR biologist. Each year after the nesting season has passed, the CWF3 board will go out to the lake and clean out the old bedding in the houses a replace with fresh woodchips to allow for a new family of wood ducks to use the houses when they fly back in the spring. These houses require attention each year and the CWF3 board has been cleaning out and maintaining the houses since 2010.

This year, all of the duck houses had some sign of usage—mostly by Mergansers. Most of the houses had multiple hatches—all nests had signs of a successful early hatch; however, there were a number of nests that had un-hatched eggs from a later hatch.

CWF3 looks forward to expanding the number of duck houses on the lake in the upcoming year.  Board member, Don Beyer, is working on a prototype that will allow for easier woodchip cleanout that we plan to begin installing this fall and next winter.

Wood Duck Houses on Sportsman Lake

The Central Wisconsin Fur, Fin, & Feather board along with their family and friends spent a day on the Sportsman Lake in Owen hanging wood duck houses. CWF3 founding board member, Brian Hanson, spearheaded this project in conjunction with DNR biologist, Matt Zeronski during the fall of 2010 and continues to be an ongoing project for the F3 organization.

Wood Duck EggsThis has truly been a community project from the beginning—the wood duck houses were built by the seventh grade Industrial Arts class in Owen/Withee and materials paid for by a number of local donors, including 2011 Dylan Crabb Award recipients Curt and Diane Benrud.

Seven houses were placed in various locations on the Sportsman Lake based on ‘best-practice’ recommendations from DNR biologist, Matt Zeronski. After cleaning out the houses following the first nesting season, the project appears to have already been a success. Four out of the six wood duck houses positioned around the lake served as a nesting site for wood ducks and the remaining two houses also served as a home for other bird species.

Each year after the nesting season has passed, the F3 board will go out to the lake and clean out the old bedding in the houses a replace with fresh woodchips to allow for a new family of wood ducks to use the houses when they fly back in the spring. These houses will require attention each year because wood ducks will not inhabit a nest with used wood chips—so as an organization, we look forward to this being a great project and reason to spend an afternoon on the Sportsman Lake for many years to come!

Learn more about wood duck box maintenance.