Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

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Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby Tom Phillips* » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:08 am

Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

If so, what have you done?

What are you willing to do?

As long as drought conditions last, a lot of work can be done to enhance habitat to perpetually produce ducks.

Is anyone up for it?

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Postby QUACK3XS » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:37 pm

I'm a commitee/sponser member of DU. I also am in the process of building 12 woodie boxes to put at various places around my county. Best I can do for now :thumbsup:
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:51 pm

QUACK3XS wrote:I'm a commitee/sponser member of DU. I also am in the process of building 12 woodie boxes to put at various places around my county. Best I can do for now :thumbsup:


That's pretty good. :thumbsup:

Thank you.

Collectively we could do something far away that would be very effective.
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Postby flight canceled » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:57 pm

i built a wood duck box a few months ago. i went to look at it only to find that song birds took it over. :thumbsdown:
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:01 pm

flight canceled wrote:i built a wood duck box a few months ago. i went to look at it only to find that song birds took it over. :thumbsdown:


I've had song birds and squirrels using mine. Still, it's a plus. It's really interesting to open a box and have a sleeping squirrel open its eye and look at you.

How would you like to do something to produce MALLARDS in perpetuity?
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Postby LA.Call'emClose » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:40 pm

what do you have in mind???????
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:46 pm

LA.Call'emClose wrote:what do you have in mind???????


Manipulating an agricultural field pothole in an area that is currently in drought.

There are still large areas in North Dakota, for example (unless it's rained in the last couple of days) that are much drier than normal. The dry soils are much easier to work to create an enhanced environment.

We kind of have to jump on it if we want to do it. We'd need to identify and arrange for a pothole, and then contract with a dozer operator to do the specified work.

NO Duck Organization, that includes Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl is doing what I have in mind for us to do as a team.

I can easily plan the project from where I am, and we can all watch its progress.

The progress will be good. :yes:

Are you up for exploring this thing further?

We should have an on-site observer. I was thinking about the owner of these forums. Chris Hustad. He might be too busy though.

We definitely need some serious people. Think we can find enough?

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Postby duckhuntingchat.com » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:00 pm

Tom Phillips* wrote:There are still large areas in North Dakota, for example (unless it's rained in the last couple of days) that are much drier than normal. The dry soils are much easier to work to create an enhanced environment.


I'm not a biologist, but it's so dry here that no rain will do a difference. We need A LOT of rain and a good winter for once would be nice (in terms of snow accumulation).

There is a property east of my place that has a lot of water control through pumps and levees, including flooded millet. The birds are there, always are. But it takes a lot of $$$ and predator trapping would be needed too as we're overrun by them (bearing in mind that trapping expense would probably be the cheapest expense of the whole project, just throwing it out there).

I'm all for conservation, I'm just hoping that whatever you have in mind would have a chance inside a reasonable budget.
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:32 pm

Chris Hustad wrote:
Tom Phillips* wrote:There are still large areas in North Dakota, for example (unless it's rained in the last couple of days) that are much drier than normal. The dry soils are much easier to work to create an enhanced environment.


I'm not a biologist, but it's so dry here that no rain will do a difference. We need A LOT of rain and a good winter for once would be nice (in terms of snow accumulation).

There is a property east of my place that has a lot of water control through pumps and levees, including flooded millet. The birds are there, always are. But it takes a lot of $$$ and predator trapping would be needed too as we're overrun by them (bearing in mind that trapping expense would probably be the cheapest expense of the whole project, just throwing it out there).

I'm all for conservation, I'm just hoping that whatever you have in mind would have a chance inside a reasonable budget.


It will absolutely make a difference in the long term -- not this year. Your area would be nearly perfect. The drier it is, the better the pothole that can be worked.

Here's the general plan (I can be project specific as soon as a parcel is identified and evaluated):

July 16, 2008

Upgrading Habitat: A Lesson
(copyright 2008)

It is my affirmation that the wetlands that support wildlife, and ducks in particular can be upgraded at least one level, thus achieving the benefit of the higher level wetland, and yet retain the benefits of the former land.

The land categories I’m referring to are 1) moist soils 2) ephemeral wetlands 3) seasonal wetlands 4) semi-permanent wetlands 5) permanent wetlands

This one-page paper will describe how to increase any land within these categories at least one level. The time to do this wetland upgrade is during a drought, or dry period. The class 1-3 wetlands can be upgraded during any normal year, the class 4-5 wetland need to be upgraded during a dry spell, or drought period when they are dry.

The way to do this is to take the deepest place in a wetland (the lowest elevation), and mark it. In a larger area, it is important and valuable to mark an array of these spots that approximate the deepest part and mark them for later work. The more there are, the better it will be. When the soil is dry and workable an earthmoving device, usually a bulldozer, will be used to make a ring around the marked point. I refer to the formed structure as a “pagoda.” The marked point is the center of the pagoda. Soil from around the pagoda will be pushed up into the center point to make a high, dry mound. This will create a circular depression around the mound which will collect the first water to flow into the larger wetland. The mound needs to rise up several feet above the normal high water elevation of the water in the wetland. The moat should optimally be at least two feet deeper than its original elevation. (The deeper the moat, the more drought resistant is the wetland, but the more it costs to construct it).

The pagoda is formed by creating a hill and a hole from what was before a nearly flat area. This structure is relatively permanent, and makes a fairly secure nesting area for ducks, as it has a barrier, or in the case of arrays: multiple barriers, thus discouraging chance predator foraging. Not only that, the deeper water around the mound allows the water to remain within the wetland much longer than it had previously. Assuming the pond bottom is sealed, the additional time for the water to remain would depend on the evapo-transpiration rate (ETR). For example, an average ET of 0.25”/day, with an increased depth of 2 feet would give an additional 100 days of open water. That is plenty of time for a brood to be reared. Having an array of these islands gives the ducks many choices of nesting sites, and makes it increasingly difficult for land-based predators to find even one nest. In all likelihood, most predators would not bother with the extra energy costs and doubtful reward of crossing one or more water barriers to perhaps acquire a meal.

The pagoda within a wetland provides safer nesting, ready escape water, and increased wetland duration.

Additionally, the pagoda would give a protected edge which would probably grow in with some emergent wetland plant like bulrushes or cattails, and a small upland area on the mound itself. The mounds should be kept fairly small so that predators could not make a living on one. For questions, or design considerations, contact the author

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At the following email address: MallardRice100@comcast.net
-------------------------------------------------

Are we up for it?

The cost is that required to move soil less than 100'. In California it's about $2-3/cu. yd.

If the area is as dry as it's made out to be, work done now will benefit the ducks 9 out of 10 years, and will be permanent. Also, a deep pothole that could never be economically drained will be converted to a mini duck factory. This little example can be viewed on the ground, and from the sky, much as is the five-branched wetland creation in Bismarck, that is currently up on this page.

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Postby jaysweet3 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:44 am

I would throw a couple of bucks at something like this. I have thrown $ at more futile sounding proposals.
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:16 am

jaysweet3 wrote:I would throw a couple of bucks at something like this.


jaysweet3,

Thanks for the help. This is absolutely a workable way to provide new productive habitat for ducks. ABSOLUTELY. Thanks for being the first to step forward.

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Email me at: MallardRice100@comcast.net.

Here are the height/volume tables we'd use as guidelines:

Slope: 3:1 (H:V)

Height in ft / Volume (cu. yd.)
10 / 350
9 / 260
8 / 180
7 / 120
6 / 80
5 / 45
4 / 20
3 / 10
2 / 3


Slope: 4:1 (H:V)

Height in ft / Volume (cu. yd.)
10 /620
9 /450
8 / 320
7 / 210
6 / 135
5 / 80
4 / 40
3 /20
2 / 5


Slope: 5:1 (H:V)

Height in ft / Volume (cu. yd.)
10 / 980
9 / 700
8 / 500
7 / 330
6 / 210
5 / 120
4 / 60
3 / 25
2 / 8

You have to multiply the volume in cu. yd. by the cost in the area where you are doing the work. This can vary a bit. A farmer with a D6 cat who is willing to do the work himself may only consider the fuel cost. In that case, the cost/cu. yd. would go way down.

Some equipment can pull slopes steeper than 3:1, so the volume would decrease, and the costs would drop there as well.

If you consider an 85% compaction rate on moved soil (a conservative number), you need to make the mound about 15-20% higher than the table shows.

Using the above tables, and a $3/cu. yd. cost, a 4' high mound at a 3:1 slope costs $60. That is a permanent addition to the landscape. It is an isolated upland within a larger wetland. That isolated upland is predator resistant and can produce ducks every year.

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Postby TBS » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:51 am

Sounds like a good idea. Have you considered pitching this to DU/Delta.

I'd think you may get more funding for a project like this if it was "backed" (not operated or run by) DU/DW.

I'd pitch in a few $$'s as well. Do you have any contacts/farmers who would be willing to have this construction conducted on their land?
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:14 pm

TBS wrote:Sounds like a good idea. Have you considered pitching this to DU/Delta.

I'd think you may get more funding for a project like this if it was "backed" (not operated or run by) DU/DW.

I'd pitch in a few $$'s as well. Do you have any contacts/farmers who would be willing to have this construction conducted on their land?


They know of it, as does Californina Waterfowl Association on a somewhat similar type project. Actually, the Sac Valley Rice field project is going to be much more productive, but it costs more to put in.

They want their projects to be Top-->down.

I can absolutely do it that way. I have done a lot of projects (not habitat related) that way.

I DO NOT want to do it that way. I want this project (these projects) to spring forth from the muddy waders of the guys and girls in the field. I want them to have the name of the girl with the Chesapeake, the boy with the black lab, and the guy with the field-bred Springer on it (them).

It's harder to motivate the masses than it is to motivate individuals, but that's what this project (these projects) is (are) for.

Oh yeah, I'll also take Don Young, Robert McLandress, or any other executive from a large organization too. Their names go right down next to the girl with the chessie. :biggrin:

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Postby TEAM WEBFOOTPOSSE » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:20 pm

your to conservation what neds is to reloading love it

pm me if i can help in anyway
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getemducks wrote:I am new to this but I think what you have there is a duck. :huh:

Are you crazy! That ain't no duck, thats one of'dem cackler gooses! :hi:
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Postby Indawoods » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:30 pm

promising idea Tom. I would think you would need to involve a biologist and do a pilot study to quantify results of increased production and elavated brood survival / recruitment versus a control, in order to really attract attention and $$$.
I don't know how effective the island concept would be, but I do have two quick thoughts that come to mind, one that points toward your idea, the other not so much.
The first thought is that every Feb. we rabbit hunt the marshes of Louisiana and flush many resident Mottled duck hens off of the nest. Every one of them builds their nest on the most remote "floatant"(floating vegetation) island they can find, and not on the canal levees.
The second thought is that I've seen every duck nest predator on four legs and snakes swimming in not just ponds or wetlands, but across major rivers without a care in the world or any obvious strain or stress. So I don't know how much of an impediment a water barrier would be.
But there's only one way to find out.....
Stuck down here dealing with Gustav right now, but keep this post up to date, this is worth pursuing through at least "proof of concept".
also, would a backhoe do the job more efficiently/less cost?
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:04 pm

Indawoods wrote:promising idea Tom. I would think you would need to involve a biologist and do a pilot study to quantify results of increased production and elavated brood survival / recruitment versus a control, in order to really attract attention and $$$.

I really don't care right now about the money or getting big organizations involved in it. I've been doing work on my own for years. I have been on the ground, and in the literature. This is the real deal. It is going to have a bigger impact on duck production than all the wood duck boxes ever built. It's easy to quantify the success, and we can do it together (I already know). Think of this project this way: I have a chance to be part of something that is historic. This will affect me, my family, and my children. Will I look back on this moment twenty years from now and smile or feel a twinge of regret?

I don't know how effective the island concept would be, but I do have two quick thoughts that come to mind, one that points toward your idea, the other not so much.

The first thought is that every Feb. we rabbit hunt the marshes of Louisiana and flush many resident Mottled duck hens off of the nest. Every one of them builds their nest on the most remote "floatant"(floating vegetation) island they can find, and not on the canal levees.

Good point, and this type of project can absolutely produce more mottled ducks. They are a concern with me as well.

The second thought is that I've seen every duck nest predator on four legs and snakes swimming in not just ponds or wetlands, but across major rivers without a care in the world or any obvious strain or stress. So I don't know how much of an impediment a water barrier would be.

It's not an absolute predator exclusion plan, it's a predator impediment plan -- plus. I can discuss the pluses. Many of them should be obvious, some are not. In fact, there are some biologists who will talk about islands being "death traps." Occasionally, that point is valid; in this project, it is not.

But there's only one way to find out.....

Well, that is the best way, I agree. I welcome you as a part of it, if you want to be involved. (Good wishes are the minimum.) :smile:


Stuck down here dealing with Gustav right now, but keep this post up to date, this is worth pursuing through at least "proof of concept".
also, would a backhoe do the job more efficiently/less cost?


Good luck with Gustav.

A backhoe is not the best piece of equipment to work with, but there is equipment other than dozers that would be very effective in similar projects. (The Sacramento Valley Rice field project is one).


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Postby Tom Phillips* » Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:05 pm

Indawoods wrote:promising idea Tom. I would think you would need to involve a biologist and do a pilot study to quantify results of increased production and elavated brood survival / recruitment versus a control, in order to really attract attention and $$$.
I don't know how effective the island concept would be, but I do have two quick thoughts that come to mind, one that points toward your idea, the other not so much.
The first thought is that every Feb. we rabbit hunt the marshes of Louisiana and flush many resident Mottled duck hens off of the nest. Every one of them builds their nest on the most remote "floatant"(floating vegetation) island they can find, and not on the canal levees.
The second thought is that I've seen every duck nest predator on four legs and snakes swimming in not just ponds or wetlands, but across major rivers without a care in the world or any obvious strain or stress. So I don't know how much of an impediment a water barrier would be.
But there's only one way to find out.....
Stuck down here dealing with Gustav right now, but keep this post up to date, this is worth pursuing through at least "proof of concept".
also, would a backhoe do the job more efficiently/less cost?


A backhoe is not the best piece of equipment, but you have to work with what you have. A backhoe would be better than a shovel. A shovel is better than nothing.

A shovel will work.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:35 pm

I don't usually wander too far from the State Forum...so I just came across this thread...

Is the sketch below an accurate (yet general) depiction of this concept?
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Postby Tom Phillips* » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:42 pm

Modified_Choking wrote:I don't usually wander too far from the State Forum...so I just came across this thread...

Is the sketch below an accurate (yet general) depiction of this concept?
Image


Yes.

Do you know how much sand had to be sifted to find you?

You are either a nugget of gold, or a gem.

Stick with me.

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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby Thedozer » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:10 pm

Anything ever come of this?
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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:25 am

Thedozer wrote:Anything ever come of this?
I have been wondering the same thing :huh:
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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby Bandit29 » Wed May 06, 2009 9:05 am

This post has been quiet for a bit. I built and put up 4 hen nesting houses based off of the design from Delta's website and also put out 4 Wood duck boxes. As far as I can tell nothing has actually used them, but I did get them out late, end of March. So I guess its my fault, but they will be in place for next season, along with a few more and some goose nesting structures.
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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby Indaswamp » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:49 pm

Is Tom still with us???? :huh: progress please.... :hi:
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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby NickK » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:36 pm

I volunteer with DU and help install wood duck boxes. My dad works for DU, so it's a good community service hour thingy for my diploma :P
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Re: Are You Serious about Producing Ducks?

Postby quacktea » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:55 pm

Hey Tom how is this project going if it is going?? i would like to know progress. it is very interesting to me
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