Last Wednesday (1/5/11) was a busy day here at the Museum. Besides the sightings of a Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk, two other raptorial birds were seen on the trails of the outdoor areas. Master Teachers Meredith Cochran and Anna Engelke were spotted walking Christopher and Misha, the Museum’s Barred Owl and Red-tailed Hawk.
Both the owl and the hawk are birds which were injured in the wild and whose injuries are such that they can not fend for themselves. They can’t be released back into the wild. Both are used for educational purposes here at the Museum.
We’ve been discussing the installation of Wood Duck boxes here in the Wetlands for some time. Two such boxes were installed on Wednesday. While the nest boxes were built for Wood Ducks, the hope is that the Hooded Mergansers that frequent the waters of the Wetlands during the winter months will stay and use one of the boxes next spring. Normally the mergansers leave us in March for points north where they nest along small lakes, ponds, and marshes.
It’s entirely possible that Wood Ducks will use the boxes, which would be welcomed, but I’m hoping that the mergansers will decide to stay and attempt to breed. Since they don’t normally nest in our area, it would certainly be be exciting if they did decide to nest here. I would be just as happy, though, if Wood Ducks or even Screech Owls, used the boxes. I’d love to watch any one of those birds raise their young here in Explore the Wild.
Robin Dale (formerly of the Butterfly House) decided that on her last week here at the Museum she would volunteer to help with the installation of the nest boxes. Robin has a fondness for mucking around in the Wetlands, which is a good thing if you’re planning to install nest boxes for ducks in a wetland.
We still need to trim back some branches around the boxes, and install predator guards, but the boxes are up and I’m excited!
With two nest boxes in the Wetlands, the birds have a choice between two slightly different locations. I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.
Thanks goes out to all who had a hand in getting this project going, from start to finish; Michele Kloda, who did most of the leg work and who actually went out and purchased the nest boxes, the men who helped install the boxes (Jim, Jose, and Taylor), Joe Nucilli (formerly of facilities, and one of the hardest working people I know) who did most of the prep work on the boxes, and especially to Robin, who didn’t have to take part in this adventure but volunteered for one last trudge through the Wetlands because she “likes going into the Wetlands.” We’re going to miss you around here, Robin.
Have a good one!