Maryland Wood Duck Initiative - A Total Wetland Experience
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Predator Guards

Photo of Predator Guard with Gap reads: Must close all gaps to be effectiveA key MWDI Best Practice is to insure that predator guard protection is excellent. PVC sleeves and flashing wrap can work but most programs that use PVC sleeves do not enclose the top or bottom and snakes are able to move inside them easily. Raccoons can climb them as well although one program participant has success with PVC sleeves by adding strips of Nixalite. MWDI has not had time to try this and evaluate it more fully.

Predator Guards For Sale

Suitable for wood duck and bluebird nest protection. The Maryland Waterfowlers Association (MDWFA) is now handling the sale of predator guards to privately sponsored wood duck and bluebird nesting programs. The guards are 26 gauge galvanized metal, 36 diameter, cone style w/ four flaps designed to fit around a 4x4 pole or similarly shaped sections.

We know from field experience that 4" sleeves do not deter raccoons and a 6" sleeve will not stop the larger ones from climbing up. At a Snake shown entering Wood Duck Nest Boxminimum, we ask program managers to seal the top gap of any PVC sleeve and replace all 4" tubes. For those whose sleeve guards are too low or short, raccoons simply use them as step ladders to step on or pull themselves up.

There are several other type of guards but the cone shaped 3 foot diameter guard is considered to be a pragmatic, cost effective solution if the guard is adhered tightly to the pole with no gaps and surrounding vegetation is kept away.

Maryland Correctional Institute Inmates in Hagerstown manufactured and delivered 300 predator guards for public lands, which will last through the 2009 nesting season. A huge MWDI thank you goes out to all who helped make this happen - the inmates (without whose work this would not have been possible), MD DNR's Bill Harvey, who helped set-up this program, and John McKay, the metal shop manager.

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This page updated on March 02, 2012