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Help birds settle in their natural habitats

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Youngsters building wood duck houses. Ducks Unlimited says helping wood ducks nest enhances the environment of many wetlands areas.

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Youngsters building wood duck houses. Ducks Unlimited says helping wood ducks nest enhances the environment of many wetlands areas. Photo Store

As the air warms and snow disappears, wildlife that wintered elsewhere has returned to Waverley West. 

We are lucky to live in an area filled with lovely lakes, fields, and forests and, aside from a necessary spring clean-up, there are projects that can be done to improve the area.  

One endeavour could be building wood duck boxes to attract wood ducks to our habitat, suggests Chris Benson, waterfowling heritage co-ordinator at Ducks Unlimited Canada.

"This time of year wood ducks are returning to their breeding grounds in Canada to nest and raise their young," Benson says.

"Wood ducks prefer to nest along wooded creeks, ponds and marshes. If there is this type of habitat in your area, there is a good chance there might already be a few wood ducks around.

"Wood ducks are cavity nesters, meaning that instead of nesting on the ground or constructing a nest over water like many other duck species, they will seek out abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities.

"Unfortunately, many of these old trees that wood ducks prefer to nest in have been cut down. Artificial nest boxes are a great alternative will help attract wood ducks to nest and raise their young."

Ducks Unlimited Canada does not have the man power to install wood duck houses all across the country. They rely on supporters and volunteers to build and maintain wood duck boxes in their areas.

Many school and youth groups use this as an opportunity to teach young people about the importance wetlands and looking after our wildlife species, Benson says.

"Anyone who is interested in learning how to build a wood duck box, we would happily provide them the building plans if they would like to put some up in their area. We also have some wood duck box kits that are available for a small fee," he adds.

Building or installing bat houses or swallow nest boxes are also great projects that enhance our area by naturally reducing the mosquito and other insect populations.

To help conserve the lakes and forested areas in Waverley West, Benson says "public education and supporting conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited Canada are some of the best tools for conserving wildlife habitat.

"Many people aren’t even aware of the benefits of having wetlands on the landscape, for example they help to filter our drinking water, reducing flooding, drought, and erosion, providing habitat for wildlife species as well as many other benefits."

For additional information on conservation or other opportunities visit the Ducks Unlimited Canada website at www.ducks.ca or phone 204-467-3300.

Kristi Anaka is a community correspondent for Waverley West. You can contact her at kristianaka@gmail.com

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