Jacklyn Goodman, Naturalist
Spring cleaning has begun for Des Moines County Conservation. Wood ducks are beautiful birds that were threatened with extinction in the early 20th century due to the destruction of bottomland habitats and overhunting. Wood ducks are cavity nesters and need hollow trees for nesting. Since much of their native habitat has been lost, adding in artificial nest boxes helps the wood ducks’ population by providing a good substitute for natural tree cavities. Des Moines County Conservation has quite a few wood duck boxes throughout the parks. The field staff start annual maintenance of these boxes during the winter. The boxes need to be cleaned each year by dumping out the old nesting material and adding in about 5 inches of new wood shavings.
Wood ducks begin pairing up in late winter and begin breeding in early spring. Wood ducks lay a clutch of 11-14 eggs and incubate for about 30 days. The ducklings only stay in the nest for one day. On the second day, the hatchlings jump out of the box to the ground where their mother is waiting to guide them into the water, where she is better able to protect them from predators. These wood duck boxes are placed near water for this reason, so keep an eye out in the parks while you are out for a hike, and you may notice some of these boxes.
Spring 2023 Hike A Park Series
The Spring Hike A Park series will begin in March and run through May. During this series, a naturalist will lead a hike at a different county park on alternate Thursdays. We will meet at 3:00 p.m. and plan to end around 4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Des Moines County Conservation will be partnering with Lee County Conservation for several of the hikes in this series. This Hike A Park series is great if you are looking to check out some local county parks you may have not known about or had the chance to visit. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable going to parks on your own, this is a great way to explore parks in a group setting. During the hike you may even get a history lesson on the park we are in. There is no registration or fee to join these hikes, just show up at the park and be prepared to hike anywhere from 1-4 miles. Participants can leave at any time.
Starr’s Cave Hike A Park- Thursday, March 16th at 3:00 p.m.
This hike will be about 3 miles long and we will meet at the shelter next to Starr’s Cave Nature Center.
Luckenbill Woods Hike A Park- Thursday, March 30th at 3:00 p.m.
This hike will be about 2 miles long and will meet at the Luckenbill Woods parking area.
Invasive Species Removal Day- Saturday, March 25th 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Starr’s Cave Park and Preserve
During this event, participants will have the opportunity to be hands-on in removing invasive species out at Starr’s Cave Park and Preserve. Our field staff have been tackling removal of invasive species at the park including bush honeysuckle and oriental bittersweet. Unfortunately, invasive species are a constant battle and there is always more to be done.
published Wednesday, February 15, 2023