To say that 14 year old Lake Houston resident Jameson Young has a love of nature and the Wood Duck in particular would be an understatement. His interest in birds and nature started at a very young age with a tremendous influence from his Grandfather, Mr. Jerry Williams or PaPa as known to Jameson.
Jameson and his PaPa began feeding birds and ducks from their home on Lake Houston when Jameson was just 3 years old. He immediately knew that this was something he thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to continue to do with his PaPa every day that they could. One of Jameson’s favorite ducks is the Mallard species. In the spring of 2012, he and his PaPa saw what appeared to be a baby Mallard. As it turns out, it was a “stray” Wood Duck that had been separated from its own mother and nest mates. The Mallard flock that came to eat each day instinctively “adopted” this duckling who turned into a magnificent male that Jameson named “Woody”. For a couple of years until he got his own mate, Woody could be found in the company of his Mallard family, outshining them all with his beautiful colors. This was the first Wood Duck they had seen on the lake, and together they began researching the species and their nesting habitat. Shortly thereafter, they ordered the lumber and built their first ten Wood Duck boxes. These original boxes were given to friends on Lake Houston and surrounding areas in hopes of attracting their own Wood Ducks. Within no time, the Wood Ducks began nesting in the boxes, and thus began something special for the grandfather and his grandson. Over the next nesting seasons, the Wood Duck boxes would have up to 4-5 females laying or “dumping” eggs in the same boxes. The females would fight over the eggs, but ultimately the alpha female would win and tend to the entire nest.
Sadly, in September of 2014, Jerry passed away. It was at this point, Jameson decided that he wanted to do something to honor his PaPa. He knew that giving back to the community was always at the top of Mr. William’s priorities and Jameson naturally came up with a way to carry on his PaPa’s legacy. With the help of neighbors Butch and Dawn Sharpe, family and special friends, Jameson continued to make Wood Duck boxes. As a tribute to Jerry, the new boxes are all branded with an original brand created by Cory MacDonald. The “W” represents Williams and it resembles wings in flight. This will forever be a part of Jameson’s quest to grow the Wood Duck population on Lake Houston. Jameson has now teamed up with the Lake Houston Sports and Recreation Foundation originally founded by David Otis, Butch Sharpe and David Schuller to continue this amazing conservation effort. They have started an “Adopt a Box” program with the purpose to expose other families to the enjoyment of conservation and the beauty of nature. All of the proceeds are being donated to the Lake Houston Sports and Recreation Foundation. To top it off, the team has reached out to local Boy Scout troops and they are now constructing wood duck boxes for the foundation and earning their merit badges at the same time.
Jameson is a tremendous young man with a heart of gold and a love of nature like no other I’ve ever seen. He calls the ducks in using his own voice techniques at feeding time. He has taken an abandoned domesticated Mallard egg and placed it in a Wood Duck box, only to have the female Wood Duck incubate the egg and take care of the duckling as if it was one of her own. Jameson says the thrill of watching baby Wood Ducks jump from their box to begin life on Lake Houston is a sight to behold and wishes everyone could experience it. This “Duck Whisperer of Lake Houston” has a bright future, which will no doubt include nature and conservation for years to come.