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    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

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I spent a great deal of time last summer and fall hauling in pallet after pallet to gain access to a 5 acre pond that based on past experience draws local birds (woodies especially) to once the shooting starts. BUT I was really surprised that is didn't drawn in more migrating birds. Its protected, ringed with cattails, and been impossible to ever get to in order to hunt until last fall when i made the pallet road.  Whats frustrating is just 1/2 mile away is an almost identical layout but about 1/4 the size and it draws in mallards, why doesn't the one we worked on?

 

Its all on private land so i can do whatever is legal to help it. But what our my options so its more attractive to fall migrating ducks? 

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Ummm...kind of a loaded question. The DNR usually frowns on attempts by individuals in these parts when they mess with or "improve" a wetland to suit their needs. Period. Would check there first to see what your options might be. USFWS is another possibility. There may be some seed available through some DU contacts, SWCD, etc., that may make it more attractive as well. Some water too just doesn't have what they're looking for whether it's freshwater shrimp or being the right depth to support enough of the vegetation or arthropods they're after. Our own pond here has shown signs of being transitional. When first established it was an absolute migrating duck magnet. It had lots of smartweed and  barnyardgrass in the shallows. The water surface was more open. Now it has more cattails and has become more of a duck nesting situation including wood ducks. It hasn't attracted as many migrating ducks and geese lately as it did at first. I did get some seed packets once upon a time from the SWCD and now there are more perennial types of forage for them. The kind of season and the migration pattern also have a lot to do with it here. Gets dry in the fall and when there's less surface water, they pass it by and stay on the bigger water. Not knowing exactly what you're dealing with makes it a little tough to give specific answers on a forum like this. Sorry.  

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Its hard when it comes to ponds/slew's like that. Not every one "works" it has to have the right combination of clean water, depth, weeds they want to eat, as well as bugs and shrimp. If its to deep and there are fish in it, there wont be as many birds. 

Another thing I have learned is the ponds that attract ducks do so year after year. Its a learned behavior. If they are allowed to use your pond on the way south they will likely return to rest over in the spring. If they nest there, or are reared there, they will come back the following year to do it again.

One of the places I hunted the last few years does not allow shooting of woodducks until mid October so the resident birds have a chance to fly south. Their ponds have a 95% use rate on the boxes in them. (75 boxes @ 9-12 eggs per box adds up to a lot of birds)

All that said to get to this, All you can do is try. Improving habitat can be hit or miss, but you have to take the chance to make it better. I put up 4 woodduck boxes and 5 mallard tubes this spring. I am hoping to see 2-3 of them get used. But if those birds hatch out and live to see next spring there may be more and more growing up here. More birds living here means more birds on the water when the others fly over to give things a look.

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Thanks Neighbor_guy, thats the info im looking for. Never thought about putting nesting boxes out. Im going to contact my local DU as well and see what they say.

The pond just looks and feels perfect, and i was surprised that it didnt draw more than it did for dabblers type last year. 

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