On the Ground: Volunteers Improve Wood Duck Nesting Habitat at Maple River State Game Area

A volunteer collects dried grass to place in nest boxes to prepare them for the upcoming nesting season.

On Saturday, February 18, On the Ground volunteers helped improve wood duck nesting habitat at Maple River State Game Area, an area that boasts wonderful wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Volunteers helped install four new nest boxes and maintained more than 10 other boxes that are located within the C and D Units of the game area in Gratiot County.

Volunteers install a new nest box in a pond near the D Unit of Maple River State Game Area.

Volunteers spent the morning checking wood duck boxes that had been used the season prior. They found signs of wood duck nesting success as well as signs of occupation by other species like owls. After cleaning out old nesting material, freshly picked grasses were placed into each box to prepare for the next nesting season.

Despite poor ice conditions that made traveling between nest boxes somewhat of a challenge, we were fortunate to have clear skies and motivated volunteers that made the best of their morning at the game area.

Volunteers from Michigan State University’s Ducks Unlimited student organization remove old grass and eggshells from a successful wood duck nesting attempt.

Following fieldwork, volunteers met back at the DNR barns for lunch and were able to enjoy time with fellow conservationists and waterfowl enthusiasts. Each participant also went home with an OTG t-shirt.

This project was made possible through funding from the DNR Wildlife Division, the Maple River Wildlife Association and Marion springs Conservation Club for donating handmade nest boxes, and all of the dedicated volunteers that came out to help improve wildlife habitat on this piece of public land.

If you are interested in volunteering with MUCC’s On the Ground program, visit mucc.org/on-the-ground/ to view details and register for upcoming events.

Leave a Comment