The wood duck is the most important species to South Carolina waterfowl enthusiasts and is the only duck for which we can effectively manage production habitat throughout all geographic regions of the State. Construction of nest boxes and erection of nest box units can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for anyone interested in a hands-on waterfowl conservation project.
The best time to erect nest boxes is December through February. Find out more information on the construction of wood duck boxes by going to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources website http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/woodduck/index.html. You can also write to Walt Rhodes, project supervisor of the Wood Duck Nest Box Project, Santee Coastal Reserve, P.O. Box 37, McClellanville, S.C. 29458 or call (843) 546-8665.
Start with a few boxes initially and increase as local populations grow remembering not to over-saturate. It may take several years before the first box is used, or it may be used immediately. It is best to erect nest boxes in the shallow, permanent water of a marsh or pond having a good mix of open water and emergent plant cover.
Do not build or erect a wood duck nest box unless it will be protected from
predators and placed in or adjacent to a suitable permanent water site. Poorly
erected and seldom maintained nest boxes only invite wood ducks away from
secretive natural cavities to where predators will destroy eggs, kill the
nesting hen or both. The all-important conical guard placed below the nest box
will protect it from climbing racoons, rat snakes and other predators.