Pond Boss
Posted By: DrLuke Wood duck camera house - 04/07/20 08:41 PM
Here is an update on the wood duck house with the camera in it.
Working very well! Here's a few pictures:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

And here is the live feed from YouTube:
Perridise Duck box
https://youtu.be/mYC8cqQQGKc
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/07/20 08:44 PM
The cable leading to the camera popped loose. I used electrical tape, which was a poor choice.
I'm going to open the box up in the next few days when she's out feeding, and fix it (zip tie through the side vent, I think)
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/07/20 08:47 PM
First egg appeared 3-28-2020, and she started brooding (sittin on the eggs full time) 4-5-2020.
Hatch and jump out day should be around May 5th. They all jump out the same morning, typically between 7 and 9 a m.
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/07/20 08:49 PM
Now I'm thinking about a "fish nest cam"... Hmm maybe. 🤔
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/08/20 01:19 AM
Dr. Luke,
I'm so glad you are doing well in this Covid situation and I hope you have some time to relax and watch the wildlife (and stay healthy). You are so fortunate to have successful nesting and brooding right outside your window. I'm trying hard but failed again this year.

I have 2 very nice wood duck houses, very warm and soft wood shavings in it and no takers. Might as well give them to someone else who can be more successful... This will be the 2nd year of waiting in vain. I did see a wood duck couple last week Monday come in for a look around. They were high up in a big oak tree for a while. They did not land in or around the pond like they have done in years past. In years past they even would swim around, rest on shore and walk around a bit but not this year. We do have a mallard pair with a nest under a pine tree but the mallard pair were not around when the wood ducks stopped by.

I'm sure our dog may be part of the problem, do you have a dog and do the ducks mind? Our dog is kept from the pond edge by his electric fence underground but perhaps his presence and patrolling is unsettling? I also know with the kids home from school there is a lot more general traffic in the yard and my son's very loud and annoying gokart (minus a muffler because it goes faster and backfires more that way) going down the trail nearby was precisely poor timing for the poor wood ducks.

It is too late now. I may have to try to put a duck house deeper in the woods away from the pond to see if that gives them more privacy, or like you, I may have to put the pole right IN the pond. What keeps me from that is we like to ice skate as long as we can and the pole would be in the way. The ducks scout the pond in the fall I'm told and if I install the pole at ice out in the spring I'm not sure the duck house will be around long enough for them to accept it?

But you sharing pictures and the webcam especially is really appreciated!!

Thanks
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/08/20 01:43 AM
CC-
I don't think the dog is an issue, but the go cart (and noise) definitely are. Woodies are very wary and leary. Once the hen picks a nest box and lays eggs, she's not likely to abandon them even if annoyed. I don't know if Northern Michigan's spring duck migration is the same time as Iowas. Our wood ducks appear within a week or less of ice out, and begin looking for nesting spots. Maybe you could try to limit activity and noise a bit during those precious few weeks?
Don't give up hope. Some hens have to try to nest a second time if the first time is disrupted. We had hatchlings in August 2 years ago.

COVID19 has been a challenge, for sure. Getting pretty tired of donning and doffing PPE. I look like "The Mandalorian Smurf" (our gowns are blue). 😉
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/09/20 12:55 AM
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm not sure, I suspect you are a bit ahead of us based on when the lone pair was sighted and how far your nesting progress was. But like you said, maybe there will be a straggler or maybe a 2nd chance rental on one of our houses.

I'm also wondering if the direction the hole faces makes a difference.

Someone suggested a submerged base and partial upright metal pole that could stay in place under the iceand water level and not interfere with skating. Then as soon as ice out I could use a boat to add the top pole and duck house. An idea for this fall.

Trying to keep everything quiet since we saw them last and who knows.

The momma mallard is staying on the nest but another mallard pair showed up to paddle around a little.

Saw our first eastern bluebird but no takers in the several shape and size bluebird/bird houses we have scattered around. I did find that this winter the mice found the bluebird houses and made nests. They were warm in their fluffy nest all winter but the 1" of nasty feces they deposited in the bottom of the bird houses was not enjoyable.

Any food sources that would attract wood ducks? An offering of acorns at the base of the tree smile

I hear Iowa is not on lockdown like MI?
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/09/20 01:51 AM
I also was sitting here with your woodduck camera on youtube open in another tab. I was on the phone and all of a sudden I heard a train whistle very close by. Now I know we have no trains coming by our house.... took me a bit to figure out it was coming from your house smile
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/09/20 01:53 AM
Actually, we have train tracks within a 1/2 mile, and the sound carries very well.
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/09/20 01:58 AM
My understanding is wood ducks do feed on grain, but really love acorns. We have loads of burr oak on our place, so that is helpful in attracting them.

Iowa is basically shut down in every way possible, but no "shelter in place" order. Not sure if it would add much at this point. Other than a few nursing homes, we have not had much activity.
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/09/20 11:16 PM
Had to tweak the camera cables, and position, as the hen had bumped them out of position. Zip tied into a better position, plus a little gorilla tape. I waited until she went out for her even stretch & feed.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: RStringer Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 02:12 AM
That's pretty cool. How many eggs is there?
Posted By: wbuffetjr Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 12:19 PM
Very cool, Dr Luke!!
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 01:56 PM
Best guess is 12. Maybe 14.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 03:24 PM
Dr. Luke, all day today we have a black screen on the live feed. IS the camera covered?
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 03:50 PM
Software glitch. I think it's fixed? I'm using OBS Studio, and it's well beyond my computer skills.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 04:24 PM
wonderful, can see clearly again, thank you! I shared with the science teacher at our school and he was happy to share this with his students. Lots of web cams for raptors and eagles but very few if any for wood ducks. We do have a neat nest box cam for our peregrine falcons in Grand Rapids. It shows a high in the sky view! They choose to nest on a nest of rocks, OUCH!!

Grand Rapids Peregrine Nest Cam links

If you scroll down a bit you will see links for a ceiling view camera and a side view camera. The side view shows the city skyline too smile
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/10/20 04:37 PM
Good stuff CC!
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 12:36 PM
Flying back into the nest box this morning
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 02:47 PM
Great shot! I'm loving watching remotely here. Thanks for hosting this.

How much snow is scheduled to hit your way? I have the same duck boxes and I wonder why they have so many air slots designed in them. It seems they would want solid sides and wooden sides to give a little more shelter from wind or cold??
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 03:13 PM
I think we're going to be in the rain band, so maybe none. 🤞

I think adequate ventilation and keeping the hen cool is more important than the shelter aspect. Plus the vents are on the bottom edges of the corregation of the sides, which seems to keep things nice and dry. And under all that duck down, the heat really stays. The eggs were quite warm when I had the nest box bottom off fixing the camera cable.
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 03:18 PM
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: Dinsmoreoutdoors Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 04:18 PM
Where did you get the box from?
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/11/20 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by Dinsmoreoutdoors
Where did you get the box from?


DuckHut
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/12/20 12:48 AM
HIghly recommend them!! Well built and come with adapter to attach to a pipe.
Posted By: bryani289swmi Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/17/20 07:50 PM
I hadn’t been checking the website lately due to extensive travel for work since January 1, but the camera set up Dr. Luke has is excellent. We had bought one at the last Pond Boss conference auction but have never gotten it put up. Seeing the results from Dr. Luke’s may prompt me to install it this coming winter. I have 8 current boxes up, in most years past they have all been active. I haven’t had much time to watch the boxes since I flew back into town last Sunday but Grant said he’s seen activity in at least a few. Last night the kids also pointed out a goose that has been sitting on eggs since at least April 11 when they noticed it. I had some field tiling done very close to her nest, I was somewhat surprised she hadn’t been scared off. I think incubation is about 29 days for Canadian geese.
I usually try to face the openings south or south east but I don’t ever recall seeing a direction recommendation on this in any reading I’ve done. If they are placed on land it is recommended they face the water. I had seen woodies earlier this year in one of our plots of Japanese millet, I watched them foraging for some time. In the fall I’ve shot several woodies stuffed full of acorns, I could feel the acorns in their necks when I picked them up. We often jump woodies in the dry woods during the fall (we have lots of oaks) and I always thought it would be fun to hunt them on land like upland birds!
CC, I think it might be a good idea to try a box deeper in the woods. If you had a group of standing dead timber near the water that would be an ideal location. I’ve read that a clear, unobstructed flight path to the box is a key.
I have 4 boxes dropped off from a friend who went to the Macatawa Bay Duck Hunters Association banquet this year and I’ll be putting these up sometime. I have several 20’ sticks of new 3” stainless steel tubing I’m going to use for poles, I think it is smooth enough to keep anything from climbing up (free from work!). When adding some boxes by me the next locations will be on land.
All the boxes I have are wood, I just replace them when they get rotten but most of the time they seem to last around 10 years here. The plastic ones have all the slots for ventilation, the first models roasted several hens during testing. I think I had read after they found some dead hens they put a thermometer in one and recorded 130F. Thanks.

Bryan
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/17/20 08:56 PM
Glad you are enjoying the box cam Bryan! I spend way too much time "checking in" on the nest. Sure beats watching the news though.

I personally don't think the direction the box opening faces is critical. Mine are all set to face my house, for selfish reasons. I would probably avoid facing it in a direction where your worst storms come from, unless the box is shielded by it's location. The camera box actually faces northwest, which is a bad idea for my area. BUT, it's shielded by it's corner location in my pond.

I would recommend a predator guard for any shore boxes, regardless of pole size. They're pretty easy to make, or can be purchased. The company that makes the house with the camera sells predator guards too.

I have 3 plastic houses and 3 wooden houses up. All get used. My cedar house is weathering best, of the wood ones. Rest are pine scrap. Plastic ones seem to be unphased by the weather, so far.

I've enjoyed this camera box so much, I think I'll try to add more houses next year. They'll have to be Wi-Fi, but those cameras are available, with a solar pack. If I put a Wi-Fi range extender antenna on the roof of my house, I think it's possible.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/18/20 01:53 AM
6:22pm on Friday night (IA time) and the nest is empty. Momma must be hungry. Really awesome to see this and watch it. I also am reminded (from my trips to IA so many times) how windy it is by you. You hear wind noise all the time. We are fortunate in W MI to have lots of trees and much less wind.

My boxes are facing East as winds almost always from the west. They both look at the pond, one is tipped SE. One is on a pole on the edge of the pond and perhaps a little more in the visible/traffic area, less trees around it. The other is up in a tree about 15' up and I have wrapped the tree for about 30" below the box with stovepipe as a predator guard. We only saw one pair of wood ducks briefly for one day and they were gone.

Further into the woods to the west there is lots of dead and live standing trees with lots of dead fall, leaves, Oaks, acorns etc. Lots of natural holes from Flickers and Pileated woodpeckers. I'll probably move the one on the pole back further in the woods and see what happens. I'll keep in mind the advice to see what the line of flight is from the pond.

Good to see you post Bryan, we all would love to hear more about how your pond caters to the waterfowl. You must have a generous boss to be giving out stainless steel 3" pipe in 20' sections, if you had to buy those would they be like $100 a stick? Glad to see you put them to good use!
Posted By: anthropic Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/18/20 05:29 AM
Anybody else notice wood ducks around fish feeders? They seem to flock to them at my place sometimes.
Posted By: TGW1 Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/18/20 11:50 AM
Yep, they go right to the feeders but I was not sure if they were eating the feed or the small fish or both.
Posted By: KenHorton Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/18/20 01:07 PM
Originally Posted by anthropic
Anybody else notice wood ducks around fish feeders? They seem to flock to them at my place sometimes.

It seems like they have timed when my feeder is programmed to feed. They are waiting every morning, I think the wood ducks get more feed than the fish do.
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/18/20 01:21 PM
I saw this going on the other morning. Another hen got in the nest box, and was trying to drive the sitting hen out. No luck with that, but interesting to see.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: bryani289swmi Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/19/20 07:45 PM
I have noticed them at my TH Hideaway feeder along with mallards, geese, turkeys,etc. The geese and mallards seem to be the most skilled being around at the morning and evening feeding times.

Dr. Luke, I did some testing this winter with the SS pipe and a feeder bird feeder on it. Many squirrels, raccoons, and opossums tried to climb it but were unsuccessful. I do have some 20” used disk blades from a friend of mine that I can use for a predator guard if needed. The pipe came from a prior project and had been sitting around for a couple years, it was going to get scrapped so I grabbed some (with permission of course).

I did find a goose nest today that didn’t make it, I was surprised how far along the chicks in the eggs were. Also found a pile of turtle shells that weren’t there a week or two back. Thanks.

Bryan

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Posted By: Custom 68 Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/20/20 06:06 PM
Very cool Dr. Luke I have been following and it prompted me to build one to try. We may have gotten it out a little too late for this year. My helper and I finished it and installed on March 20th. We did have 2 pair visit our pond over the weekend. They come on occasion but I was hopeful however I assume now they have already nested.

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Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/20/20 08:13 PM
Originally Posted by Custom 68
Very cool Dr. Luke I have been following and it prompted me to build one to try. We may have gotten it out a little too late for this year. My helper and I finished it and installed on March 20th. We did have 2 pair visit our pond over the weekend. They come on occasion but I was hopeful however I assume now they have already nested.


C68, don't give up hope. You may catch a late nester, or a hen that failed to get a hatch off the first go round. Plus, you may get a screech owl to use the box too. They can be seen perching in the door of the box, usually early in the morning for me.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Screech owl looking up at Mr & Mrs Duck
Posted By: Custom 68 Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/21/20 08:04 PM
excellent. We will keep watching. I am not sure why my pictures are not showing up? I need to dig into that.
Thanks and that is also a cool picture.
Dave
Posted By: corgi Re: Wood duck camera house - 04/27/20 07:29 PM
Love it. We have 4 or 5 pairs this year and they are presently using the hatch boxes I put in our adjoining swamp next to the pond.
Last year, we had 3 hens that had 18 total between them. We are hoping for a repeat performance this year. I just hope the eagle that has been showing up does not develop a taste for them. Great pics. Thanks for sharing.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/05/20 12:03 PM
Are we getting close to jump day, Dr. Luke?
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/05/20 12:33 PM
Very close now! Any day actually, but within my family, our friendly game of "hatchling bingo" has me down for the 7th. 😁
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/06/20 03:23 PM
Duckling alert! Just saw first hatchling!
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/06/20 03:25 PM
Depending on how fast the whole clutch hatches, tomorrow might be jump out day
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/06/20 04:03 PM
Thanks for the update this is exciting. I haven't seen the hatchling on the web cam yet. See if you can get video from the outside to document the jumping, possible to get a live stream of that or if not post video when you can!

My kids' science teacher was surprised when he noticed a hen and 8 ducklings in the shallow swamp behind his house. He had put a wood duck house out in the swamp a few years ago but didn't know that it was being used this year! Must be that they hatched a day or so sooner than your brood. Hoping for a safe jump day and that the ducklings grow

How long do they stay on the pond before leaving?
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/06/20 04:19 PM
I have a video camera setup and waiting for jump out, and will upload the footage.

We do see the hen & chick "flotillas" cruising around the pond edges, but they are few and far between. Wood ducks are super secretive. We have seen them mature all the way to fledglings but not always.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/07/20 12:48 PM
YAY!! lots of ducklings on the web cam today. Looks like they all hatched overnight. So exciting!
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/07/20 10:29 PM
So today was the day! We had 11 ducklings jump out between 1 and 1:15 pm. That's not typical (usually in the morning), but when the hen stuck her head out to "scout" around 9:15 am, she didn't call them out. Something must not have felt right, and I defer to a mother's intuition on that. I'll post a few still shots, but am working on the video right now. I'll put it up as soon as I can..finish learning how. 😏
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/07/20 10:34 PM
Here's a shot of the ducklings in the box, waiting to be called out.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 05/07/20 10:41 PM
I already cleaned out and rebedded the box. I'm hoping for a second tenant, even if it's a screech owl.

Contents of the nest, in a plastic white tub: [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Egg remnants. The hen actually ATE most of the shells: [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Funky egg: [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 06/14/20 02:58 AM
So here is the jump out video..finally! Full disclosure, I asked my son to do it and he finally helped me out.
https://youtu.be/WXJdnqOLBzA
Posted By: DrLuke Re: Wood duck camera house - 06/14/20 03:01 AM
AND...I have another tenant! I was happy to discover that another hen took up residence in the box and is brooding now. I estimate a first week of July jump out.
https://youtu.be/tviIGQoy63E
Posted By: highflyer Re: Wood duck camera house - 06/14/20 01:25 PM
Doc,

Nice work. We have nesters at our farm. and now that I will be getting an internet connection soon, I may be able to add cameras to the mix. Great work, very inspirational.
Posted By: Tbar Re: Wood duck camera house - 06/14/20 02:58 PM
Wow.....great work!
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Wood duck camera house - 06/15/20 11:38 AM
Thanks again for posting these updates. The split screen video of the jump process is awesome, thanks to you and your son for spending time making that! Super happy to be able to watch a second hen go through the process. It amazes me as mostly unsuccessful parent that those little ducklings take a leap (of faith...) hit the water and immediately know to paddle faithfully around right behind mom. What makes our teenagers head off in the opposite direction straight towards danger?
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