A Cub Scout pack to build a few good homes for ducks Success: With some help from a utility, a conservation group and a state agency, the boys will build 11 wooden boxes on Sunday

September 29, 1995|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Aaron Courtney figures the wood ducks in Brandon Shores need winter lodging, but the 9-year-old knows he can't offer them shelter.

"If a duck was my pet, I wouldn't know where to put him because we don't have a pool," said the soft-spoken fourth-grader from Jacobsville Elementary School. "I wouldn't even know how to feed him."

Aaron and the rest of Cub Scout Pack 829 from Pasadena will overcome those obstacles with the help of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., a conservation society and a state agency.

The result will be 11 duck homes built this Sunday.

BGE is offering the shoreline of its 55-acre Brandon Shores power plant site off Fort Smallwood Road and $150 for supplies.

Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit duck preservation society, is providing $250, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is donating building plans.

Steve Majerowicz, assistant Cub master for Pack 829, said the Scouts hope the boxes they build will bring about a larger migration of wood ducks and increase breeding.

"They're just not around as much," Mr. Majerowicz said. "This is just to get the ducks back into the area."

The wooden boxes will be put atop 3-foot posts near Cox Creek.

Mr. Majerowicz said he hopes that eight of the 11 boxes, which will be set up in January, will be filled with wood duck families during the first year.

North American wood ducks have feathers of five colors, said Paul Peditto, a Department of Natural Resources biologist. For instance, males have a long crest and black, chestnut, green, purple and white plumage.

The wood ducks also are shy and rarely approach humans, Mr. Peditto said.

An average adult duck is about 18 inches long.

A mature female can lay 10 to 15 eggs, which take about 30 days to hatch.

Mr. Majerowicz said the Cub Scouts got involved when Gary Lawn, a wastewater employee with Baltimore Gas and Electric and a former Little League manager of Mr. Majerowicz's son's baseball team, called him two months ago.

One of Mr. Lawn's colleagues, Al Duer, a corporate security analyst for BGE, had finished a security survey of the 55-acre tract in April when he saw several wood ducks in the area.

"I thought to myself, 'What can we do to make the area more pleasant and accessible for them?'" said Mr. Duer, a self-described animal lover and conservationist. "That's when I thought we should make some duck boxes."

Mr. Peditto said the boxes become even more necessary because of deforestation.

"You would normally find [the wood ducks] in dead trees that are hollow but their natural habitat is declining," he said. "All we're doing is supplementing their natural habitat with these boxes."

The Scouts hope their boxes help.

"If we lose the ducks the world wouldn't be a fun place," said Bryan James, 9, a fourth-grader at Jacobsville Elementary. "We need more of them to come back to Maryland so that they'll make Maryland more beautiful."

Something more personal is at stake for Aaron Courtney.

"I get to spend time with my friends, and I get to watch the !B ducks use what we made," Aaron said.

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