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Emily Eystad took part in the wood duck homebuilding project this spring. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise

Community science project is ready to hatch

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Wood ducks should be hatching this weekend throughout Hubbard County.

In and of itself that might not be newsworthy. But for a group of Hubbard County residents participating in a citizen science project to attract and hatch wood ducks, it's an event a long time in the making.

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Earlier this spring senior citizens, grade school-aged kids and parents of all ages were busily building and installing wood duck houses throughout the region.

The trouble is, there's only so many wood ducks around, so some might have vacated existing homes for new ones, worried project director Steve Maanum.

His own three nests on the Fish Hook River are usually overflowing with ducks. Only one house is full this spring, he said.

"I haven't had a lot of reports of activity," he said.

Josh Severtson was one of the students who built a house and put it at home on the Fish Hook River. He thinks a merganser moved in, but he's happy with any sign of life.

A Web site has some of Maanum's past videos with wood ducks hatching and dropping out of the elevated nests. He has installed a camera on this year's nest and will feed video once eggs start hatching.

It's part of the Where's Woody program that teaches kids about science and wildlife. The Web site ishttp://digitalwoody.ning.com. If you're interested, it only takes a moment to register. Then you can upload your own photos and participate in the ongoing discussions about wood ducks and other aspects of nature.

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