Manmade nests help revive wood duck population

Locals in Delaware are putting in work to help out local duck populations.  Thanks to manmade nests, the wood duck population in Sussex County has bounced back, leading to a variety of benefits for the area.

We're told the nests built Sunday in Bethel guard wood duck eggs from predators, such as raccoons and snakes.

"By building boxes and putting them out in the way that we do, and putting predator guards on them gives them a safe nesting structure for them to be able to go in and lay their eggs, and have a safe environment for predators not to be able to get to them, and raise ducks that way," says Paul Henry, chairman of the Mid-Shore Chapter of Delta Waterfowl.

This has become a tradition in Bethel, building dozens of nests a year, now with over 200 functioning nests around the Nanticoke River.  This has resulted in a thriving wood duck population in Sussex County.

"I've seen a drastic increase in the population of wood ducks up and down the Nanticoke, and some private areas around Sussex County," said Scott Green, youth chairman for the chapter.   "A lot of fishermen have told me they've seen more wood ducks now than they've seen since they've been fishing."

The nests not only help local wood ducks, but they also help the local hunting industry.

"If there's no ducks for the duck hunters to hunt, then they don't like to buy licenses, there's nobody getting involved in the outdoors because there's no ducks around.  By helping the wood ducks out, the hunters get excited because they're seeing a lot more ducks, they buy licenses, so everything goes right on down the line," said Henry.

And looking around the shop Sunday morning, you couldn't help but notice a number of hunters with their young ones, passing the torch to the next generation.

"Without the next generation, this is a dying sport," said Henry.  "The numbers will show you that the number of hunters per year is declining.  So without hunters, there's no conservationists.  So that takes away from the revenue, that takes away from the people that care.  So getting the kids out and getting them involved hopefully they'll grow a passion for it and they'll take our place."

This chapter was started by Henry 14 years ago.  The organization itself is a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowling in North America.

The Mid-Shore organization holds fundraisers throughout the year to make this wood duck nest building event free for all involved.

They also do work with vets and families with their veterans program including an annual Patriots Hunt.

If you are interested in joining the organization or finding out more, log on to and look up the mid-shore chapter.

Categories: Delaware, Local News