The Duck Boathouse

Mallards in the pond

Our large pond has been attracting  many waterbirds.  We’ve seen mallards, widgeon, shovelers, snowy egrets, greater egrets, green heron, great blue heron, plus fishers such as phoebes and a kingfisher.   In fact one mallard couple has become brave enough to waddle near when I feed the chickens.  I throw a little scratch out, and the ducks snack on that along with the grasses.  The male, who my daughter dubbed John Drake after the Secret Agent Man series main character, stands nearby and scolds me for not  throwing out scratch on demand.

Since the garden plants are within their first year they haven’t grown in.  I thought how great it would be to continue providing habitat  by having a duck nesting box.  I began to search online but the ones I saw were incredibly expensive for what amounts to just a box. You could place them on shore, but they would be within reach of predators.  Or you could connect them to a pole sunk into the pond.

The front, with aquatic iris in front of the entrance.

I broached Jacob with the subject and he was enthused, so he built one entirely out of scrap materials.  I had a length of 4-inch PVC pipe with caps on the ends, which had come with the house. He used this as plastic pontoons for support.   He tied on the side of a crib, built a little house out of a lightweight wooden crate  I’d brought home that day which had transported potted plants, and dug up some of the plants already in the ponds to use as camouflage.  The plants will live with their roots  trailing  in and helping clean the water.  What came of all these recycled materials is just the cutest duck boathouse nesting box ever, I’m sure.  I haven’t seen the female mallard for a few days, so she may be sitting on a nest elsewhere.  I hope that a duck does enjoy the house, and if not, it is very fun to look at and is helping clean the water as it floats.  What fun!

The back and sides, which will be hidden by plants as they grow.

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