On Saturday November 26th Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program hosted a Wood Duck Nesting Box Workshop at Fifty Point Conservation Area. The event was led by Wood Duck expert Alfie Stanevicius (aka Wood Duck Alfie) who has worked on nesting structures for the species for many years. Alfie builds nesting boxes for Wood Ducks because their natural nesting sites have been destroyed due to a lack of understanding of the importance of allowing dead trees to stand rather than cutting them down.
Wood Ducks nest in tree cavities adjacent to lakes, ponds or wetlands. As humans have developed southern Ontario we have removed many of these trees and consequently Wood Duck nesting sites. What makes Wood Ducks so marvellous are their bright colours, crested head and ability to perch in trees because of their unique adaptation of talons.
Alfie is the builder and caretaker of over 200 Wood Duck boxes in the Hamilton – Halton area. Through his experience, Alfie has figured out what does and does not work. He has stories of chewed up boxes and stories of Wood Ducks literally laying eggs on the roof of a nesting box.
His presentation was motivational and his love for wildlife was infectious for those in the room. Everyone shared their tales of Wood Duck sightings, nesting successes and failures and everyone constructed their very own Alfie-designed Wood Duck box. One of the attendees was so inspired that they have begun planning a Wood Duck box building event for sometime next year.
For me it was a great learning experience. I was completely unaware of all the benefits a wood duck nesting box can have. A single box could be used by a Wood Duck, Great Crested Flycatcher and Screech Owl all in the same year. Even Kestrels are using the structures for nesting. These boxes are providing important habitat for species at a vulnerable life stage and they’re also providing an opportunity for people to have a very personal educational experience with local wildlife.
Thank you to all who helped to make this event a success and a special thank you to Alfie for his devotion to helping out Wood Ducks.
Watershed Restoration Technician
Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program
If you’re interested in joining a future Wood Duck Nesting Box Workshop or would like plans to build your own at home please contact the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program at firstname.lastname@example.org