Mallard Hen House Installations on Private Lands in Southern New Brunswick
Goals and Objectives
The purpose of this project is to improve the quality and quantity of productive nesting sites for mallard hens on private lands in our region. Over the past several years, we have been seeing many of the traditional mallard nesting areas become less and less productive. This has been mainly due to the increased predation from coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Late spring, heavy/flash flooding has also aided to the destruction of many nesting sites, of which some ducks will nest again but quite often it may be too late in the season. With the addition of these elevated and predator deterred hen houses, we hope to provide some assistance to the nesting hens and in turn improve their populations on private lands.
The goals of this project are:
1) To improve the nesting habitat suitability and availability for mallard hens,
2) To provide better opportunities for eggs and duckling survivability, with the increased safeguards provided by the improved nesting sites, and
3) To educate our 8000 woodlot owners and their families of the techniques and benefits of providing improved nesting habitats for mallard hens and for the overall mallard population.
Summer / Fall 2012: Production and installation of 50 new nesting sites or “hen houses” for mallards to use for five locations in southern New Brunswick. By using the Delta Waterfowl hen house design, the nests will be elevated from the water/ground, reducing flood/water damage and nest predation from raccoons, skunks, mink, etc.
November and March of each year: Educational presentations will be given at local zone meetings and at the SNB AGM. SNB website updates, and “woodlot owner of the year” field days, will also be great ways to communicate and/or demonstrate the project merits to everyone.
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
The locations will be entirely on private woodlots located in the Hampton, Springfield, Chipman, Midland and a site to be determined after consultation with the SNB membership. These areas are prime wetland areas, surrounded by grassy marshes, many channels/potholes and in close proximity to open water. Hunting of migratory game birds is currently permissible and will be available at all of the locations. This project aims to enhance 50 acres of wetland habitat.
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
Initially, there will only be approximately 50 mature birds benefiting from this project. However, from the increased survivability of the eggs and in turn ducklings, the local waterfowl population will be increased dramatically over time. Particular waterfowl species benefitting from this project include; mallards, wood ducks, teal, and geese.
Other migratory game birds and songbirds will greatly benefit from these hen houses by utilizing any house that is not occupied by mallards. The more nesting sites available for all to use, will benefit the entire local bird populations in the area.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
The direct influence of this project will be on the enhancement and improvement of nesting site availability and suitability for mallard hens on private woodlots. With this project being highly publicized through our woodlot owner organization and on-site signage, it is anticipated that many more private woodlot owners will be interested in joining the movement and thus, improving even more habitat in the area. Those benefiting directly from this project will include private woodlot owners and migratory game bird enthusiasts. Restoration of the habitat on their lands will provide them with a much more productive and diverse area on their woodlot, for them and their neighbors to benefit from. Migratory game bird enthusiasts, whether they are hunters or bird-watchers will enjoy seeing the populations once again be plentiful in the area. Also, all will enjoy checking the houses in the spring of each year, to be able to easily see if the houses are being used and by what species of bird is using them Spring maintenance will become an annual ritual, watching the nest being used and birds as they grow in them, which are all activities each landowner will find great joy and reward in on their properties. In-direct benefits will be received by both WHC and
the SNB Wood-Co-operative Ltd from being involved with such a worthy cause and through promotional events and woodlot signage. Exposure from this project will benefit both organizations for future business endeavors as well.
The locations of the nesting area improvements will take place in Kings and Queens counties of southern New Brunswick. The locations will be entirely on private woodlots located in the Hampton, Springfield, Chipman, Midland and a site to be determined after consultation with the SNB membership.
For more information on this project, please contact Jamie Floyd, Forester, SNB Wood Co-operative Ltd., Sussex. NB