Mar 18, 2020 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2019

Ask Birdsquatch: Wood Duck Boxes

Great placement for a wood duck box is in a pond, but ideally, the pole should be baffled to protect the box from climbing and crawling predators.
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Dear Birdsquatch:

I want to put up some wood duck boxes in my large, wooded backyard. However the nearest body of water (a wooded pond in a county park) is more than a half-mile away from my property. Am I being foolish? Do I need to ask permission to put the boxes on the park property where the pond is?

—Dawn, Who is Desirous of Ducks
Lawton, Oklahoma

Dear Desirous Dawn,

Wood ducks go searching for nesting cavities before the onset of the early spring nesting season. As long as your boxes are mounted facing south, high up in a tree, with a clear flight path to the opening, the woodies will likely find them. So I say put the boxes up on your property! Or better yet, put them up both places!

If you get permission to put them up in the park, you’ll want to place them out in the pond on baffled poles driven into the bottom of the pond. This requires some extra effort in either wading out or boating out to a likely spot to place the poles and mount the boxes.

You can buy pre-made wood duck boxes or build your own. Here are some basic plans for a DIY duck box. Now if you need help getting those poles driven into the mud, I know a guy who works for blueberry pie...



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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  • That doesn't address my concern about the bird houses. I'm on a tiny piece of property (40x100) so there's not much room to plant a heck of a lot or places birds could put nests once the bird houses are gone.
    by Linda DiPierro, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Plant some native plants in your yard that will attract pollinators and produce berries and nuts. There should be a local society that has a list of recommended plants, shrubs, and trees.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Same concerns here. See above post. For your situation I would consider planting a few native plants that will naturally produce berries and seeds that the birds in your area need to survive. Try planting some that will yield foods for all seasons.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • I've thought about this myself. One thing I considered doing is leaving behind some bird food and a gift card to my local wild bird store with a note asking the new homeowners to please continue feeding the birds. Don't know how well that work but it's worth a try.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • thanks for the article. I believe that I may have spotted my first hairy woodpecker this morning. we see the downy woodpecker often. it's small. the hairy woodpecker, when compared with the downy, is HUGE. also, the downy feeds at the feeder like most birds--standing upright. This bird, because of its size, hung from the feeder perch with most of it's body below the feeder--like the red belly woodpeckers that we see often. we live is strasburg va. is it possible that we saw a hairy woodpecker this morning?
    by PEretired, Sat, 23 May 2020