The Duck Box

Our Duck Box, located on the east side of the pond, has been a happening place. We initially put it up to entice Wood Ducks and/or Kestrels or small Owls to make a home and raise a brood.

Through the use of a Trail Cam, back in April, we’ve recorded a pair of Northern Flickers checking out the option. We’ve seen Starlings in and around the box quite often, but when we check we don’t see a solid nest being built (which, we would remove to discourage that invasive species.) At the end of May, the Trail Cam filmed a single Great Crested Flycatcher a day or two after I had seen a pair of them investigating the box. And, our resident Red-shouldered hawk has been observed using the box as an observation perch and Robert say it eating a kill atop the box.

We’ve been quite busy with business things lately, and the weather has been less than inviting to explore outdoors (lots of rain.) However, Robert stopped by the Trail Cam at the Duck Box yesterday to collect the SD card. We were surprised to see the various activity.

Great Crested Flycatchers

It was interesting to see that the pair of Great Crested Flycatchers visited the box. Their behavior suggested that they may still be considering using it. I worry that it’s a bit too deep for their needs, but I am pretty certain they are aware of what will work for their needs.

Please recognize that the images are from the Trail cam, which are not the highest quality.

Red-shouldered Hawk

A single Red-shouldered hawk stopped on the box. While the still shot camera captured the whole bird (see below), the video cut off the top of his / her body. But, not long after the first bird arrived, there was a second video capture of another hawk arriving. Fortunately, in that video (below) it’s possible to see it in it’s marvelous entirety. I am not certain if this is a mated pair, or a parent with juvenile. The bird on the top of the box seems to have a lighter colored underbelly, which is an indicator of juvenile status. It also seems to be making the vocalizations, which again may suggest it’s a youngster.

Unexpected Visitor

A White-tailed deer was caught milling about under the shrub just behind the Duck Box.

Seriously?

House Sparrows are cavity nesters. They are also an invasive species that we do our best to discourage through our “planned parenthood” protocol of 1. putting out many nest boxes (to reduce competition) 2. keeping tabs on who is using which box 3. allowing the House sparrows to build a nest and perhaps lay a few eggs 4. discarding their nest which forces them to start all over again. Still, they have found plenty of other places (like in the old barn and a shed next to the old Milk House) to procreate. But, we do our best with the birds we can spot. And, to be frank, it’s not hard to spot when they have decided to take ownership of a nest box. They camp out, perched atop the box with proud proclamation. They are a determined species that seems to have more “chutzpah” for their size than just about any other bird. I suppose that is why I wasn’t terribly surprised to see this image on the Trail Cam!

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