To enhance breeding habitat for cavity-nesting ducks and songbirds, bees and other pollinators, raptors and ruffed grouse, the KWRC works with community groups and volunteers to build and mount nest boxes, raptor platforms and drumming logs at suitable restoration sites throughout the watershed.
Our Habitat in a Box program provides a great opportunity for us to engage with local schools to educate youth about the importance of habitat and what we can do to restore and improve habitat to benefit many wildlife species in our watershed. This photo (to the right) was taken of the songbird box built and placed by the 2018-2019 Outdoor Explorers project group of the Bridging New Waters 4H club. It is located along the Sussex Nature Trail in Sussex.
The map below shows the location of all the duck, songbird and bee boxes; drumming logs and raptor platforms installed by the KWRC over the past several years. Click on the icons on the map to see photos and/or infomation about which group helped to build the box.
Duck, songbird and bee boxes
Duck, songbird and bee boxes are placed in areas where the habitat is suitable for them to breed in. Bird and duck boxes are usually made from cedar, pine, and re-purposed wood which we source locally.
A bee box in one of our management areas
A bird box being used by Tree Swallows on one of our management areas
Some specialist duck species prefer to nest in the cavities of trees (ie. wood ducks) rather than on the ground. If no suitable tree cavities are present or are being occupied by other species, they may not have anywhere to nest. By placing duck and bird boxes in suitable locations, we can increase the places where birds can successfully lay their eggs and raise their young safe from predators. Bird and duck boxes are placed on trees or posts near or within ideal breeding habitat for certain species. These are generally in areas where they will be close to wetlands or river banks with thick cover and have an abundance of food (such as aquatic vegetation and insects) to eat.
Bee populations have been declining in recent years so creating more viable locations for them and other pollinating species to lay their eggs is beneficial to helping their numbers increase. Bee boxes are usually placed on a tree or fence post, in an area surrounded by vegetation.
Check out this video on how to build a Songbird Box!
Other Habitat Enhancement Strategies
The spring months are the mating season for Ruffed Grouse. The male Grouse performs a dance on fallen logs in the forest to attract a mate. The males will beat their wings in rapid succession on these logs to create a drumming sound. The logs they use are refered to as a "Drumming Log". The KWRC has placed suitable logs to mimic naturally fallen logs for Grouse to use during their mating season in locations where there are few suitable natural drumming logs. This is done to help create opportunities to improve breeding and encourage a healthy Grouse population within the Kennebecasis Watershed.
A raptor platform is a constructed platform (the KWRC uses wooden pallets) attached to a large 40m pole, which is then secured in the ground. This platform is meant to be used by raptor species (predatory birds) for nesting sites.
Image sourced February 2020 from https://nestwatch.org/connect/news/platform-for-success/