Polk County Conservation

Wood Duck Nest Boxes

  • We have two small lakes on our property and would like to install some wood duck boxes. We built the boxes following plans supplied by Ducks Unlimited, but now we need some information on installation. How far from shore? How high above the water? Any special directional orientation? How far apart? Your help will be gratefully appreciated.

    I’m glad you are putting up wood duck boxes! This is a great time to install them. Nest boxes have helped wood ducks make a remarkable recovery during the last 30 years. They provide relatively safe places for wood ducks to raise their young.

    Wood duck boxes placed in the water should be on posts at least 3 feet above the high water mark. To minimize access to the nest box by predators, metal predator guards should be placed on the post below the nest box. It’s best to scatter nest boxes throughout the woodland and wetland habitats so that they can’t be seen by one another.

    If you are placing them on land, post them at least 20 feet high to a tree. Boxes on land should be 30-100 feet from the waters edge because boxes at the water's edge are more vulnerable to raccoon predation. The entrance hole of the boxes on land should face the water. For boxes placed in the water there is a slight preference for the entrance to face south and west. Be sure to place a few handfuls of wood shavings in the bottom of the box. Nest boxes should be cleaned and maintained once a year.

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    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

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