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.