If you have a pond or body of water that is on your property, building a floating ducks' nest will encourage normally transient mallards or other ducks to take up residence and hatch their young near you. The sight of a mother duck training her young to swim brings joy to many bird lovers. Since many migratory birds set up temporary homes for the spring months when their young hatch, their nests are often extremely vulnerable to predators and flooding. One solution is to build a do-it-yourself floating nest which keeps the ducks and ducklings safe from both dangers.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Styrofoam base, 3-inch
- Treated plywood flooring, 1/2-inch
- Framing boards, 2-inch by 4-inch by 3/4-inch
- Glue (optional)
- Wooden Crate
- Eye hooks
- Cables to anchor nest
Cut the styrofoam base slightly larger than the structure you are building. A square or rectangle base will float without much danger of flipping over or sinking.
Cut the 2-inch by 4-inch boards to create a "frame" around the styrofoam base. Use self-tapping screws to attach each corner of the frame to the wooden corners of the adjoining board. Do not attempt to attach the wooden frame to the styrofoam base.
Cut the treated plywood to fit securely over the edges of the frame. Use self-tapping screws to attach the plywood flooring to the wooden frame. Test this by floating the structure in water. The structure should float freely with the surface of the water at least 2 inches from the flooring. If the base is too heavy, flip the foundation over and use another piece of styrofoam for extra flotation. Glue the second piece to the first and allow the glue to dry for about 12 hours.
Remove one of the sides of the wooden crate. Use caution as you will be reusing this piece.
Cut a 10-inch by 8-inch rounded hole into the centre of the panel you removed.
Add hinges at the top of this "door" and reconnect it to the wooden crate. This door will allow you to open the side for cleaning purposes after the ducklings have left the nest.
Center the crate onto the flooring. Fasten small screws through the bottom of the crate into the flooring to secure it in place.
Insert eye hooks into each end of the floating platform and hook a cable to each end. These will serve as the means to pull the platform into the centre of the pond and keep the nest away from ground predators. Both cables should be anchored to the shore so that when it is time to pull the nest home in for cleaning, it can be done from either side.
Lift the ducks' nest up and into the water and anchor one end of the cable to the opposite shore. When the house has been pulled into the centre of the pond, anchor the other cable to the shore. Your floating nest is now ready for occupation.
Tips and warnings
- Attempting to attach the wooden frame to the styrofoam base will tear up the material.
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