Date: 3/7/17 6:54 pm
From: MARLENECONDON--- via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Wood Ducks in OWL BOX by my driveway!!!!!! (western Albemarle)
Just thought I'd report a Wood Duck pair has decided to use one of my owl
boxes--even though it is probably only about 10 feet from my driveway and
about 1400 feet from the local river!!!!!! The pair was checking it out a
few days ago and I believe the female has begun to lay eggs! Seems like such
an unlikely location for them to nest as the box is not well into the
woods nor particularly close to water.

What is fascinating is that there are plenty of snags on my property with
holes made in previous years by nesting Pileateds, yet screech owls (and
now Wood Ducks!) have shown a preference for an artificial cavity. This has
also been the case for small birds and even flying squirrels--all of which
could nest deeper into my forest. This says to me that scientists have
under-rated edge habitat for some cavity-nesting species. I believe these
animals prefer to be on the edge of my nature-friendly yard because it makes
getting a meal so much easier for them. There's far more food in open,
sunny areas (if the land is covered in a variety of plants rather than lawn)
than within shady woods.

Oh--I still had a few Purple Finches here on March 6; a Red-breasted
Nuthatch and a Black-capped Chickadee (its presence seems quite upsetting to my
Carolina Chickadees) on March 6; and a Fox Sparrow was here today.


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