It that time of year again to do the maintenance on the WDBs and MHNs. Often the MHN needs more hay in the top 1/3 and need to be "restuffed". I use a piece of wood lath that is 3/8" x 1.5" x 2' long and use it to poke the hay (in my case I use flax straw - but do NOT use regular grain straw as it'll just blow away - use hay instead.) between the gap in the wire rings. If you can, please use the finer stalked hay, especially for the nest inside as that is what the hen use when nesting in the grasslands. Canary (marsh) grass is too coarse of a stalk for the MHNs, get the upland hay which is finer stalked. I use wood shavings that I get at Menards for for the WDB, a big bag is like $5 and has no added oils or scent to it. I think that this warm winter weather this year has caught many of us flat footed in S Mn. We never did get a lot of ice thickness to begin with in S MN. With the cold the last few days, if there was still ice, it should be good to walk on for another 2-3 days before the 50s hit again this weekend. (if it was open water already - forget it as it is thin ice). If there was ice yet and refroze hard again, use common sense and an ice spud/chisel to gauge the ice thickness. For me, if 3 hits at the exact same spot and the chisel goes through the ice, I back off as it's too unsafe. Ice thickness can change very quickly, like 6" and 6' further away it's down to 2". So be careful. As a safety factor, have a buddy with that stays back 20' and has a 50' rope as a "just for in case". Also have ice picks around your neck to get back out for in case you do fall through. Avoid any moving waters with a current - because if you get swept under the ice - you are a goner. The bottom line is for any one in the southern 1/2 of MN is you have only a few days left to check anything over water as 40/50s for this weekend and next week. Also the sun is much higher in the sky and is eating away at the surface of the ice. The guys in the Northern 1/2 likely will have at least a week if not 2 more time yet being much thicker ice up there, towards the Canada border you may have 3 weeks yet of safe ice. Where as those down along the IA border it may be too late already to access many nests due to very poor ice conditions. Good luck and be safe. We are now getting a LOT more Mergansers in S MN using the WDBs. A friend of mine in the west metro had a 50% Mergie rate the last few years Some of the guys are making a smaller hole (3.75" x 2.75" oval) as the Mergies are a bit bigger than the hen Woodies are. Some are placing a cedar board with the smaller hole in front of the existing hole and screwing it into place to help deter the Mergies. In the photos are eggs, Mergies are on the left and Woodies on the right. Mergies are more round, whiter in color and a bit bigger. Woodies are more oval, creamier in color and a tad smaller.