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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Shiawassee Refuge Volunteer Hits 25 Year Mark

Region 3, March 1, 2013
Gary Van Kirk holding unhatched wood duck eggs.
Gary Van Kirk holding unhatched wood duck eggs. - Photo Credit: n/a
Wood duck pair.
Wood duck pair. - Photo Credit: n/a

Every year in late February or early March Volunteer Gary Van Kirk can be found at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. He will be pulling his sled over the ice and snow through the forested wetlands visiting approximately 35 wood duck nesting boxes. The difference in 2013 is that it marks the 25th year that Gary has been doing it.

Each year Gary replaces the wood chip bedding and counts how many chicks fledged from each box. He also repairs and replaces boxes, predator guards, and metal poles. Gary has accounted for the production of thousands of wood ducks over the years. Further, many other forms of wildlife benefit from the nestboxes, including hooded mergansers, eastern screech-owls, and southern flying squirrels.

Thank you, Gary!!!

Contact Info: Steve Kahl, 989-777-5930, steve_kahl@fws.gov