Be in the Know: Wood Duck Nesting Season

April 4, 2024

iSportsman Staff

iSportsman Staff

Here in eastern Virginia, where iSportsman headquarters is located, it’s wood duck nesting season. Wood ducks are often admired by hunters and non-hunters alike for their striking markings and feather color combinations. While limited wood duck hunting is available in some parts of the U.S., nationwide there is still a continual effort to increase the wood duck population after their near extinction in the 1900’s due to overhunting.  

Honoring the wood duck goes beyond controlled hunts and responsible sportsmen, many citizen scientists also take to building wood duck boxes to help provide additional homes for these stunning waterfowl to lay their eggs in. You may have seen a wood duck box, they look a lot like any other bird house and their simple design and construction is intentional to encourage others to build their own to aid the communal conservational efforts surrounding the species.  

Near the Chesapeake Bay, wood ducks will lay their eggs from March to April and in about a month lucky observers may witness “jumping day.” “Jumping day” is when the mother wood duck stands below the box or natural habitat shelter and calls to her young, and they jump from the nest for the first time to begin their journey in the wild.  

Wood Duck Nesting Season Guidelines:

wood duck

If you see a wood duck nest or box, try not to disturb its occupants during this crucial period.  

Injured or predated ducklings are an unfortunate fact of life — do not interfere with natural processes and add additional stress to the mother or other hatchlings.  

If you live in a region where wood ducks can thrive but have never seen a healthy population, you can encourage one by building your own wood duck box and creating a habitable environment for next year’s nesting.  

Hunter or not, consider purchasing a duck stamp. While a duck stamp is necessary for waterfowlers and other hunters, funds from duck stamp purchases go directly towards wildlife habitat conservation efforts. Also, they’re beautiful pieces of art created by outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Read about duck calling on iSportsmanUSA. 
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