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#501860 - 02/11/19 10:25 AM Alternate uses for wood duck boxes
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Was out doing a little hard water work this weekend. I have over 12 inches of ice, so I was using my Ranger with a blade to clear off some of the snow cover. I also took this opportunity to open and clean my wood duck nest boxes, and replace the bedding (hint to other duck box owners, you need to do this annually, hen wood ducks don't bring in nesting material). So when I popped open one of my houses, this little guy was 'squatting' in there, for the winter..

Meet the Eastern Screech Owl. Only 8 inches tall, 6 oz. body wt.
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#501871 - 02/11/19 01:35 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
Thanks for sharing! Did you make the nest and do you have an easy recipe to follow? I want to put one up this winter but still unclear on where and how high and how big of one I should make or purchase.

I'm told natural holes are better. I was thinking of taking a hollow dead section of old tree laying in the woods and cutting it in half lengthwise so I can more easily hollow out the inside, then create the correct hole size, then screw the halves back together and mount it. I don't know how to hollow out an existing dead tree that is upright yet.

I read they find the holes on the wing by spotting the color difference between the bark and the hole with its dark cavity behind it.

but I also ready they scout their nests in the fall so I might be too late.

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#501872 - 02/11/19 02:00 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
NEDOC Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 890
Loc: SC Nebraska
You're not too late. I've installed some in the spring and had them in use within weeks. I think they do tend to scout them in the fall, but if they find a good spot they're going to use it.
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#501873 - 02/11/19 02:02 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
NEDOC, how were you so successful? Was design of box what attracted them, or proximity or water, or did they feel safe because it was higher off the ground?

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#501882 - 02/11/19 04:47 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13994
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Thatís just neat
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#501883 - 02/11/19 05:00 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4364
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
My wood-duck boxes have only been nested in by screech owls. The young are really cute!

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#501885 - 02/11/19 08:01 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: canyoncreek]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Thanks for sharing! Did you make the nest and do you have an easy recipe to follow? I want to put one up this winter but still unclear on where and how high and how big of one I should make or purchase.

I'm told natural holes are better. I was thinking of taking a hollow dead section of old tree laying in the woods and cutting it in half lengthwise so I can more easily hollow out the inside, then create the correct hole size, then screw the halves back together and mount it. I don't know how to hollow out an existing dead tree that is upright yet.

I read they find the holes on the wing by spotting the color difference between the bark and the hole with its dark cavity behind it.

but I also ready they scout their nests in the fall so I might be too late.


CC, I did build this duck house. My experience has been any wood works, but it seems like weathered boards get faster action. DON'T paint your new house, just let it weather. This is why cedar is often suggested, because it weathers well.
I also have two manufactured duck houses (i.e. extruded plastic), and my woodies love them! And I have to admit, they are super easy to put up and use. I tried to get the company to advertise on the PB forum, but I have not seen them do it yet. I can PM you their name if you like.

I don't know if 'natural' holes are better, but the size does matter. Wood duck houses need an oval opening, roughly 3 inches tall by 4 inches wide (looks like a mini football on it's side). And I agree, I think they see that dark opening and go check it out.
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#501886 - 02/11/19 08:07 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
woodster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Wi
I have 13 boxes and often find a screech owl in them. I like to call my boxes "time share units".There are two color phases, grey as the one in the picture, and a rusty red coloration. I see both colors. I have grand kids coming to "help" me clean them out this weekend, maybe we will find one.

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#502637 - 03/02/19 06:34 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
So excited! thanks to the suggestion of Dr. Luke I bought 2 of the wood duck houses that he has found so much success with.

I can tell you that for about the same price as the cedar ones, I found these molded plastic houses to be way better! You can see that a lot of thought went into their design. Moulded with air vents, water vents, smooth corners and openings, a great lattice on the inside for the babies to climb up with and very helpful and thoughtful mounting equipment. The easy to drop down woodchip tray also is great.

I love how it is drab/camo colored and blends well with the woods and my mounting pole.

I'm going to mount one on a pole in the water but have to wait till skating season is over to drill a hole and sink a pipe. We have a bit of polar vortex coming next week so maybe 1 more week of skating for the season!

I put the other one up today using my fiberglass pond light pole. I read on another duck forum that they found that a little higher (10') was preferred over a little lower so I went a little higher. The pipe mounted one in the water on the other side of the pond will be lower.

I had to improvise to mount on the pole as I didn't want to screw into it. I'm just using some 16 gauge underground dog fence wire to strap it to the post. I will look later to see if I can get some giant cable ties which might be more secure.

Thanks for the idea Dr. Luke and very much hoping this will allow some wood ducks to stay this year instead of dropping in for a few days and then moving on.

'stock image'








Attachments
wood duck house.jpg (565 downloads)



Edited by canyoncreek (03/02/19 06:35 PM)

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#502638 - 03/02/19 06:44 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
CC, glad you liked them. Based on my egg shell counts, my best production was from the Duck Hut houses. And I agree with you, the design is superb. The wood ducks seem to agree.
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The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
- Confucius
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#502639 - 03/02/19 06:46 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
I'm really hoping I'll get to see this in a few months!


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#502640 - 03/02/19 06:57 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
This is from last spring

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The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
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#502658 - 03/04/19 10:12 AM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
Wow, if I could see that my heart would be happy for a while smile

What pipe did you use? It looks painted black?

I was thinking, could I not use PVC pipe instead of metal pipe? I know there is worries about predators climbing the poles and we are supposed to use predator guards? How did they not climb your poles?

If I mount something into the shallows of the pond (to use water as the predator guard) I'm thinking of drilling a hole in the ice and possibly putting a fence post down below the water level, then use the fence post as a guide post and drop a pvc pipe over the fence post? That way if the next goes unused or after ducklings hatch I can easily pull the pvc pipe and mounted duck house off the guide post and store it away?

I guess I could do the same with a galvanized pipe pounding it under the water line and use it as a guide post.

If I use pvc and pound that in I could use fittings to thread on a top pipe which is tall enough to mount the duck box and thread it back off when it is time to ice skate again.

If duck houses have to go back up in March when there is still ice on the pond then I'd probably have to repeat that process every year as I would never find the old pipe under the ice.

but once ice is gone, I could probably wade out and find the guide post and pull it and drive it in somewhere else through the ice the next season?

Can raccoons climb up a pvc pipe vs a galvanized one?


Edited by canyoncreek (03/04/19 11:49 AM)

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#502745 - 03/06/19 01:08 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: canyoncreek]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Wow, if I could see that my heart would be happy for a while smile

What pipe did you use? It looks painted black?

I was thinking, could I not use PVC pipe instead of metal pipe? I know there is worries about predators climbing the poles and we are supposed to use predator guards? How did they not climb your poles?

If I mount something into the shallows of the pond (to use water as the predator guard) I'm thinking of drilling a hole in the ice and possibly putting a fence post down below the water level, then use the fence post as a guide post and drop a pvc pipe over the fence post? That way if the next goes unused or after ducklings hatch I can easily pull the pvc pipe and mounted duck house off the guide post and store it away?

I guess I could do the same with a galvanized pipe pounding it under the water line and use it as a guide post.

If I use pvc and pound that in I could use fittings to thread on a top pipe which is tall enough to mount the duck box and thread it back off when it is time to ice skate again.

If duck houses have to go back up in March when there is still ice on the pond then I'd probably have to repeat that process every year as I would never find the old pipe under the ice.

but once ice is gone, I could probably wade out and find the guide post and pull it and drive it in somewhere else through the ice the next season?

Can raccoons climb up a pvc pipe vs a galvanized one?


On that house, I used 1 1/2 inch threaded iron pipe, two 5 foot sections. I drove the bottom piece into the bottom as far as I could (about 24 inches, if I recall correctly). Then I used a coupler and threaded on the top piece. It was silver/shiny, so I did paint it black to blend in better. It's held up well for two full seasons now.

I moved a duck house that was too close to shore (in only 1-2 feet of water, and hence raided by raccoons) and used a similar setup, but used 2 inch pipe this time. As you already found out, the Duck Hut houses are designed with a mounting bracket that fits 2 inch pipe perfectly. On smaller pipe, I wrapped the pipe with a strip of old ratchet strap, to increase the diameter as needed. That worked fine.

I think PVC could work. Depends on your bottom and how hard it is to drive it in. I'd think it'd need to be at least 24 inches into the bottom (36 is better) to ensure stability. Then you could use a coupler (smooth and glue it, or threaded if there is such a thing) to join the sections. After reading your question again, I see you mentioned setting a post as a telescopic base for the PVC. This could be slick! Might even be able to use a metal fence post, which would make driving it really easy. FYI, it is REALLY EASY to damage the threads when driving a threaded pipe, so use something to protect them (small piece of board, etc, held on impact point by a helper). If they become deformed from pounding, threading on the coupler collar gets...difficult.

I think the water mount prevents 99% of predation just due to logistics. It's hard to tread water, and then (being soaking wet) grip a pipe (of any kind, PVC or metal) and skinny up it. Not saying a resourceful coon couldn't do it, but they'd more likely write it off as a waste of energy. Plus, I think having the house over water makes it difficult to localize the smell of the nest, which may conceal it from prospective invaders before they even try the pipe and water gauntlet. My experience has been 2 feet of water is too shallow, 4-6 feet seems to be safe. And of course, a predator guard never hurts, as insurance.


Edited by DrLuke (03/06/19 01:09 PM)
Edit Reason: typos
_________________________
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#502748 - 03/06/19 02:36 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1419
Loc: West Central Missouri
I have seen both steel pipe and PCV with water in them freeze. They both can burst, but the steel usually maintains some structural integrity which would still hold up a box. The PCV, not so much. I would be concerned if a PVC model would be expected to endure any ice-overs. I'm guessing the box posts are not intended to be left out through the winter? If that is the case, my point is moot. It would be nice to leave at least the posts in place so that the box is all the gets stored away for the off season however.
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Noel

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#502749 - 03/06/19 03:07 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
My thought is I would leave boxes in place in case owls want to use them. That would be a bonus for me. The one mounted on the pond light pole can stay as is, it should be predator proof.

The one that I mount in the water gets in the way of ice skating. That is the one where I would want to have a pole that can terminate under the water (so would have to have a slip on or threaded joint) and could add another section of pole in March through May or whenever the babies leave the nest and then could take it down when we have ice again.

I was thinking a guide post pounded in that stays in place would allow me to slide a pole with the box over the guide post. Since I might be installing this in early March or late Feb when there is still ice on the pond it might be best to not have to work with a threaded joint under the water and do this work through a small hole in the ice. It might be easier to pound a standard fence post in through a hole in the ice and then slip a steel or pvc tube over that. I would envision installing it right as skating season ends so there may be some ice/freezing yet but it should be working towards warm weather by the time I put it up.

then in April or May when we are done I can wade in the water and pull the guide pole back out?

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#502758 - 03/06/19 09:10 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrWizz Offline


Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Eastern Iowa
I have had good success with wooden houses on the edge of my pond that are mounted to trees. I wrap 2 foot sections of black stove pipe that has been opened up around the tree as a coon guard and that has worked well. I have tried to put them over the water on posts, but they are much harder to service and maintain there. 1 1/2Ē PVC over a fence post works well, but if you drive the post in more than a couple of feet, it can be very difficult to get it out, especially if the weight of the house has leaned it over a bit. I have used the threaded galvanized posts too. If you put a coupler over the threaded end when you pound them in, it will help protect the threads. CC, if you donít have trees on the edge of your pond to mount a house to, another alternative would be to put a 4Ē treated post in the ground on shore with a coon guard to avoid the hassle of fooling with the posts in the water. I have used 1 1/2Ē PVC over fence posts for bluebird houses and have had no coon or snake problems, but I donít know if that system would be strong enough on solid ground to work. As mentioned above, when I hung the heavier wood duck houses on that system in the water they tended to lean in a year or two. Make sure to mount the houses to the post and not the PVC or else the house and PVC will rotate on the post. Good luck, I hope they take up residence with you, they are really cool to watch.

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#502761 - 03/06/19 10:25 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2045
Loc: West Michigan
Dr. Wizz that is great advice.

I have lots of trees on both sides of the pond. I was a little hesitant to use a tree because I wasn't confident on how to build a predator guard. We have to figure that predators can climb up the tree (so your idea of wrapping tin around tree and how you did it really helps). But also I'm told the tree has to stand by itself with no trees within 10ft on each side to prevent critters from jumping from one tree to the nest. The opposite side of the pond where I want to put the 2nd box has trees but they are on the far side of my driveway. I was thinking that might be an issue so then I was back to putting the stake or post close to the water edge or in the water.

I like the tree idea. My goal for the first year was to mount 2 boxes, maybe they'll pick one, and then the next year move them around to see what they like.

So when you wrapped the tree with stovepipe, was 2' tall wrap around the tree sufficient or should it be 3' or 4' tall wrap?

My hut on the west side of the pond faces east so it is protected from the prevailing winds and has a dense patch of woods behind it that the duck might see as protective cover.

On the east side of the pond there is grass, my driveway and on the other side of that about an acre of trees and then another house. This duck house would then face west (so I can see the activity in and out too!) We'll see what they like.

So how high up the tree did you mount them from the ground? Or didn't it matter?

The nice thing about these very nice plastic duck houses is that they are not that heavy either and their superb molded in color scheme is very nice camo effect too.

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#502762 - 03/06/19 10:28 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: canyoncreek]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1839
Loc: East Texas, USA
As for coons, a little vaseline mixed with tabasco sauce on the pole may be worth a try. They aren't fond of Cajun cuisine.
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#502763 - 03/06/19 11:02 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrWizz Offline


Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Eastern Iowa
2 feet of stove pipe has been enough to keep predators out. I have mine about 10-12 feet off the ground. They will nest in trees and boxes that are well away from the water. I had one box that was originally on a tree along a little waterway that led down to the river. One year we had a drought and they still used it. When the fledglings finally jumped, mom gathered them up and took them to water about 300 yds away. Also, they are not territorial and will nest in boxes that are near each other and even attached to the same tree

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#503478 - 03/24/19 02:31 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
First tenants are house shopping. This hen woodie was up on top of the house peeking inside, but flew down before I got the picture taken. Ice is only out around the edges and shallow inlet fingers. We're 2 weeks behind typical ice out here.
_________________________
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
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#506409 - 05/23/19 11:34 PM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
First hatchlings of the season
_________________________
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
- Confucius
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#506414 - 05/24/19 06:54 AM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4364
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Cool! BTW - DuckHut is sold out.


Edited by RAH (05/24/19 06:59 AM)

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#506419 - 05/24/19 08:07 AM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13994
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
14 babies. Neat!
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#506424 - 05/24/19 09:58 AM Re: Alternate uses for wood duck boxes [Re: DrLuke]
Custom 68 Offline


Registered: 05/09/14
Posts: 144
Loc: Springfield MO area
That's great, now I want one...
Dave
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Dave
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