At the ripe age of 90-years-old Arnold Krueger spends parts of his days counting eggs and talking to his friend Larry Thomforde, of Zumbrota, as they go from wood duck box to wood duck box.

Arnold and Larry met in a chance encounter that revolved around a duck decoy over 50 years ago. That bond over a decoy that Krueger had carved has lasted, and now the two men are hoping to solve the mystery of the duck.

A violinist by training, Krueger led the orchestra at Owatonna High School for decades. He also played in the Mankato Symphony. Now Krueger and Thomforde spend their days asking questions like how many eggs, on average, does a wood-duck hen lay? How many of these eggs hatch successfully? Will a wood duck that is hatched in a box in Krueger’s yard return to the yard? By seeking answers to these questions they received a DNR study grant in which they will place leg bands on hen wood ducks nesting in Krueger’s yard.

The study is a 10-year operation that both men hope to help solve the mystery that surrounds this duck. Preliminary results of the study, now in its eighth year, are encouraging, and lend validity to the widely held belief that nesting boxes, properly designed and maintained, can positively influence wood duck populations.

Source:  Star Tribune

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