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2 Langley students are building homes for ducks

Trinity Western University students are building and maintaining wood duck boxes in Langley
Trinity Western University students Lauren Mckenna (left) and Jaylene Braithwaite (right) are taking it upon themselves to build homes for the local wood ducks in Langley. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

Two undergraduate students at Trinity Western University, who share a passion for the local wood ducks, are helping the feathered water-birds in Langley.

Wood ducks, also called waterfowl, are a secondary cavity nester. Which means they don’t collect their own nesting, and instead inhabit cavities within large trees with decaying wood or leaves, or abandoned nests of other birds.

Jaylene Braithwaite said the interest in the project started a year ago after taking a class on wood ducks with her friend, Lauren Mckenna.

They had a close friend, Larri Woodrow, who had been installing wood duck boxes for 30 years, and he wanted to pass the task on to the next generation.

“We were eager to get started, and began putting up four boxes around our campus’ pond,” Braithwaite explained.

The boxes are artificial nest cavities made of wood or metal, and are filled with wood shavings, and they come in a variety of sizes.

Ideally, she said the boxes should be about three-metres above the ground and each box is filled with 10 cm of fresh wood shavings – which the wood ducks combine with its down to incubate its eggs.

“These wood shavings should be cleaned out yearly to increase the boxes success in wood duck habitation,” Brathwaite noted.

She said these boxes will help maintain the wood duck population.

“Especially in light of habitat fragmentation and climate change, large deciduous are becoming less prominent for them to make homes in.”

The two goals of their project are to support the local ecosystem and wood duck population, and educate the community.

“I think it can be really rejuvenating to see conservation work and remind people that they are a part of the ecosystem themselves,” Braithwaite said.

@wood.ducks.bc Who are we? We are two undergraduates passionate about ecology and more specifically, Wood Ducks. We recently set up four Wood Duck boxes around our school’s pond, and are monitoring a few more around the Langley area. #fyppage #duck #ducksoftiktok #ecology #fyppage #trendiing #fyp #viral #virall #fypシ゚viral #fypppppppppppppp ♬ Good Times Go By Too Fast - Dylan Scott

While the project began as a directed study of wood ducks in the Langleys, the students’ commitment extends for as long as the need persists, she said.

Currently, there are boxes around Fort Langley and the TWU Langley campus, but Braithwaite and Mckenna are hoping to expand throughout Langley.

“We’ve become completely obsessed with wood duck boxes because it allows us to actively work within our passions and carry on a legacy of our friend,” Braithwaite commented.

Braithwaite is graduating this year with an honours biology degree and minor in chemistry, and hopes to work within environmental conservation.

“I’m really passionate about protecting our planet, and would love anything within that realm,” she said.

Mckenna is hoping to pursue future education in ecology as well.

People can follow their project on Instagram @woodducks.bc or TikTok @wood.ducks.bc.

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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