On May 20th, 2020, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency personnel met with personnel at Core Civic South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton to pick up some wood duck nest boxes. The nest boxes were constructed by the inmates from South Central Correctional Facility.
The inmates are able to recycle wood pallets, and the inmates who are assigned to the Wheels for the World wood shop are able to make wood duck houses to the exact requirements. All parts are recycled and are excellent quality. The houses will be used throughout middle Tennessee to provide wood ducks with much needed nesting habitats. Wood ducks naturally nest in hollow tree cavities, but sometimes a suitable natural nesting site is not available.
These nest boxes will be placed at Laurel Hill Lake and VFW Lake, and some were given to David Crockett Park. The boxes will be placed on a tree or pole that hangs over the water about six feet high in sites that are suitable brood habitats. It is best to find shallow fertile wetlands with thick cover to place the boxes. Predator guards, which are metal cones around the tree, will also be placed under the boxes to help keep snakes and raccoons from getting in the boxes and destroying the nests. The boxes have a hinged side opening that makes it easy to clean out the old nesting debris in early spring and replace it with four inches of fresh cedar shavings for new nesting material. Also, inside the nest boxes are screens or hardware cloth which assist the young hatchlings in climbing out of the boxes.
There was great interest in getting the boxes from TWRA wildlife management areas throughout middle Tennessee, and the prison partners are planning to make more nest boxes soon to be distributed to other locations. TWRA personnel were Pam McDonald, Tony Self, and Ben Garland.