Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MDIFW Regional Wildlife Biologist Intern Week 10

March 20-April 2 "Duck-box Highlights"

I can't believe it, but the wood duck box maintenance season has come to a close with ice conditions no longer safe (or existing).

A few more things have happened with boxes and a few things are worth remembering. This post will be a picture intensive recap of the wood duck box experience. Until we meet again, duck boxes!

1. The time I broke my one and only hammer trying to put up a duck box on my own, a week after I damaged my boss's truck.

2. When Zach made a fool of me on the ice after our major snow storms, and I just continuously sunk (but I did learn how to fix that issue!)

 3. Absolutely gorgeous days on untouched lakes and ponds.

4. Finding out eggs that have been rotting for months and frozen are incredibly loud upon impacting ice. I'm not even joking - some are comparable with a .22 rifle shot. Zach, hundreds of yards away, would regularly hear the eggs I lightly TOSS onto lakes explode.

5. Doing box maintenance off the 95, and wondering how many people must be wondering if we're game wardens (also coming up with the tune "They're wood duck, they're wood duck boxes" in the style of Copacabana by Frank Sinatra).

5. Finding chick mortalities of those who couldn't escape the box for whatever reason. It's certainly a shame, however, their siblings got out, so something may have impeded them from the start.
 6. Keel's face.

 7. Glassy conditions when we first started. We contemplated coming out with ice skates to make the process even faster, but then we got all of that snow.
 8. The Wood Duck Box Massacre of '17. All boxes vandalized except one. No culprit found.

 9. Finishing boxes early at St. Albans and having a blast riding around on a lake to enjoy the last few minutes of sunlight (also learning power turns from Zach).
 10. Finding dump nests.
 11. Finding all sorts of animals in the boxes, from dead ducklings, to mice, to dead birds.
 12. Assisting in the fitting and fabrication of the new solar powered duck box viewing exhibits on Swan Island.

13. And finally, all of the hooded merganser and wood duck eggs I've seen, and the confidence that my work will be helping maintain these two beautiful waterfowl species.

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