Log - East Nest Box - Second round17 ducklings hatched on June 22
June 23, 2016
Skiska looked around for less than a minute three times with a brief gap of a few minutes in between. On the third look she flew down after less than a minute of watching and began calling the ducklings. She was in a hurry! In the past I have seen hens watch for 10's of minutes with a half dozen repetitions over the course of several hours before deciding to go. An hour or two of that is typical. Skiska is the new record holder for the shortest time!
June 22, 2016
The first signs of hatching were visible mid-morning (audible too: lots of high pitched peeping) when Skiska was seen eating an eggshell. After she moved over several newly hatched ducklings were visible. Now, in the evening there is the usual impossible-to-count pile of baby ducks. We won't know exactly how many hatched until tomorrow, but there were 21 eggs (or so) in the nest box and at least one unhatched egg is visible as I type this.
June 13, 2016
Skiska sometimes sits beside the eggs and a few times has left them uncovered or been gone for quite a while. My theory is that the warm weather allows her to be less diligent. The nest box is shaded by a couple of trees, but during certain times of the day it is in the sun and on a hot day the nest box might be quite warm enough without her. We're looking forward to hatching some time next week.
May 30, 2016
The duck in our East nest box continues to be a devoted egg warmer. I'm going to call her Skiska which is a Lakota word for wood duck. She has calmed down: yesterday I mowed all around her house and I've also reset the camera a couple of times (which makes it swivel) and Skiska has stayed on the nest, unlike earlier when these scared her away. I know the camera has been offline a few times recently where it shows "Error" when you try to view it. It seems to be sensitive to power hiccups. Since nothing much is happening right now I don't rush home to reset it, but we use the same service to watch that you use so we do know when it isn't working. Looking forward to hatching sometime around June 22nd. I will set up the outdoor camera then.May 22, 2016
We returned from a 4-day weekend out of town to find a new hen incubating at least 21 eggs! When I got home Sunday evening the camera was offline so I reset it and this is what I saw:May 17, 2016
There are now 4 eggs. Lots of wood ducks are around.May 15, 2016
As of today there are three eggs in the nest box but the pace of visits seems to have slowed. There is still a chance that another duck family will use this nest box this year.May 8, 2016
A male and female pair came to the nest box this morning, she inspected it, went in and spent a half hour. We checked: there is 1 egg and it is new today (I happened to also check yesterday). Another duck family may use the East nest box this year.
Log - East Nest Box25 eggs. 16 ducklings jumped on May 5th
May 5, 2016
16 ducklings left the nest box and followed Eury into Bassett Creek. There were 9 eggs left over, which is more than we've usually seen. They may have been laid later by other hens, or may have developed more slowly due to the cool weather.
May 4, 2016
They started to hatch this morning and will leave the nest forever tomorrow morning. Here is a cell phone picture that I took when Eury was out for supper.AM May 2, 2016
This morning she is making the soft clucking sounds that she uses to talk to the ducklings - maybe she senses something - maybe today.April 30, 2016
Watched all day but no sign of hatching yet. Maybe tomorrow ...April 29, 2016
Eury's eggs could hatch any day but as of this morning nothing is happening yet.April 14, 2016
Eury was out so I opened the box and counted eggs. (Ducks can't tell if you do that: for one thing they have a very limited sense of smell.) There were so many that I lifted 4 of them off the top, then counted the layer beneath: 24 total. There might even be a couple more since I didn't dig around thoroughly, but there are at least 24. That's the result of at least two and maybe more hens laying eggs in the box. See the notes about wood ducks below where this is described.April 13, 2016
Now that there are two, these birdies need names. I'm going to call this one Eury (ref: Greek god of the East wind) and the other one Zephy (west wind). You may notice that Eury has a huge bulge in her neck in the evening. That is her crop - a place where birds store food until it is ground up and moves further down. However I've watched lots of ducks and never seen a neck as big as hers usually is in the evening. It might be normal, or it might be there is something wrong with her.April 10, 2016
She usually leaves the nest for about 2 hours in the evening to go find some supper. Otherwise she's always there.April 2, 2016
THE CHICKS WILL HATCH ABOUT APRIL 30. Incubation has started: the hen spent all night on the nest for the first time last night. This is more than a month earlier than last year.April 1, 2016
We opened the nest box and counted the eggs tonight. There are 10 which is somewhat fewer than we expected given all of the activity. Several times we've seen one duck trying to get in when another is already in there and defending her place. There are at least 5 pairs around every day in the back yard and the creek. I am building a second duck house to help alleviate the housing shortage and I have a camera for it. I'll send the link when it goes live this weekend.March 27, 2016
The wood duck nesting season has started. I put the duck house out a week ago and there are already at least 6 eggs. Today there were 4 male and 3 or 4 female ducks in the back yard and the creek. Several hens tried to get in except that there was already one in there.
Log - West Nest Box16 ducklings jumped on May 17th
May 17, 2016
About 16 little ducks went on their way today. There were 5 unhatched eggs. Good luck little ducklings!May 16, 2016
Zephy's ducklings hatched today! They will leave the nest tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.May 15, 2016
Zephy's eggs could hatch any day now. No sign of that today, maybe tomorrow or Tuesday. The camera problems have all been resolved and both the daytime and the nighttime views should be good. The outside camera is also ready. Right now it is pointed at the creek but on jump day I will rotate it to view the outside of the West nest box. All is ready - now we just need some baby ducks.May 8, 2016
Zephy continues to be a very attentive momma duck. She is rarely away from the nest box for long. This evening I happened to be watching when she came back. I saw a large dark bird slanting down toward the creek and wondered what kind it was, moving very fast in an arrow straight line starting from high on the left above the trees to low on the right. At the last minute she flared to slow down, flapped maybe twice, and flew exactly into the nest box hole, paused less than 1 second, and dropped in. OK, then I knew what it was. Such skill.April 17, 2016
Zephy started incubating eggs all day two days ago, so her chicks should HATCH SOMETIME AROUND THE 15TH OF MAY. While she was out this evening I opened the box and counted: 20 eggs ... or maybe one or two more: I didn't want to disturb things too much. Many different colors, perhaps because they are from different hens.April 13, 2016
Zephy slept in the box last night but was not there all day today. I counted the eggs while she was gone: 11 The eggs were cool so that overnight stay plus her absence all day means this doesn't count as the start of incubation. She is there again tonight. If she stays for most of the day tomorrow then we can start counting days.April 12, 2016
9:00am A duck has been sleeping in the box for several hours this morning. This may be the start of incubation ... or maybe not, we'll see.April 10, 2016
Opened the box again and there were five eggs. At least two hens are laying: one visits sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 AM, and the other was in the nest today at around 1:45 PM. They dig down to uncover the eggs, then sit for several minutes laying another, and finally use a minute or two to rearrange the wood chips to cover the eggs. This only takes about 10 minutes, so they aren't often there.April 8, 2016
Opened the nest box to adjust the camera: Three eggs.April 6, 2016
This AM a hen went in, spent 5 minutes sitting, then a few minutes rearranging wood chips, then left.April 4, 2016
New house is up and we already had some house shoppers. I didn't even know she was in there when I remote controlled the camera to pan down. She saw the motion and it startled her away.April 2, 2016
There are so many pairs of ducks this year. I think the creek bank rebuilding caused many people to remove duck houses. Our (East Nest Box) house is the only one that I've seen. At least 3 other hens are trying to get into the one defended by our nesting duck, but she fends them off. I'm going to build another house.