As the name suggests, this projects deals with the construction and placement of waterfowl nesting boxes around Cascade, Idaho. Jared Scott and Rob Cimbalik, who are both seniors, started this project in an effort to help the waterfowl nest more successfully and in the future, increase waterfowl populations. The waterfowl that are the main focus of the group are the Canada geese and wood ducks.
How we got started:
Our first steps to beginning our project was to do research. We first went to the Internet for information on nesting box designs and box placement. Our searches werent great, but we did find a couple of designs for wood duck and goose nesting boxes. At this point we were informed that our local Parks and Recreation officer, Warren Sedlacek, had recently been working on nesting boxes with the Boy Scout unit in our area. Warren was looking for any help he could get with the nesting boxes. We promptly called him up and he was more than willing to meet with us and give us information on nesting boxes. At our meeting with Warren we were given nesting box plans for wood ducks and geese that have been proven successful in our area. He also discussed where and how to place the nesting boxes. Warren and the Department of Parks and Recreation offered to pay for all the wood and materials to build the nesting boxes. From this point we were ready to purchase our materials and start building.
The wood for the nesting boxes was purchased at Cascade Building Supply by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The wood that was purchased for the wood duck boxes was 1 x 12 x 8 pine smooth cut lumber and 1 x 12 x 8 rough cut cedar. 3 old tires per box are needed to help hold the post in the ground. The post should be somewhere between 10 to 12 diameter and 10 to 12 feet long.
Building the Nesting Boxes:
Wood Duck Nesting Box Plans
Use 1 x 12 lumber, discard sections with loose knot holes or cracks before assembling boxes. The following diagram shows the lengths of each part of the box. The hole for the entry of the box can be a 4 diameter circle instead of an oval.
The front of this nest box swings open to allow insert diagram of nesting easy cleaning. The hinge nails should not be box lengths to be cut driven in too tightly and should be directly opposite each other so the front does not bind when lifted up. The bottom of the front is held in place by nails inserted at an angle into drilled holes. Leave 1/ 8-inch openings at the top under the eave for ventilation.
Avoid splitting the boards with nails, use a drill bit slightly smaller than the nails to start the holes or
use deck screws. The roof of the box should be beveled slightly so that there is a snug fit against
the back of the box. The grooves beneath the inside of the entry hole should be about 1/ 8-inch deep. they form a ladder for ducklings to get out of the box.
Goose Nesting Box Plans
Materials and Equipment List
3 2 x 10 x 8 tongue and grove #2 or better grade
2 2 x 4 x 24
56 3 decking screws
Table and/ or circular hand saw
3/ 8 or larger, variable speed drill with #1 or #1 1/ 2 Phillips and 3/ 8 bits
1 8 treated post, 7-8 in diameter with designated cut at top, and wrap of tin 20 in length placed just below cut at top of post.
3 Cubic feet tree bark or extruded gravel or 1 bale grass hay or straw
3 Old tires filled with gravel, cement, or dirt
Nesting Box Assembly
Refer to the diagram below for reference.
1) Cut 2x10s to 4 pieces 32 long then cut 1 of these 4 in half lengthwise(floor); cut 4 pieces 30 1/ 2 long (sides)
2) Glue all joints and tongue and groove edges as assembled.
3) Lap corners of the side boards and screw in place.
4) Assemble the floor, center on top of the grooved edge of the sides, and screw in place.
5) Drill 8 holes (1/ 2) in the bottom for drainage.
6) Cut a square hole 6 on a side in the center of the floor.
7) Assemble the box support braces by securely fastening the 2 2x4s to the bottom of the box with screws
8) Place the tires around the base of the post for additional support when standing.
1) The boxes should be spread out and placed at least 100 yards apart. If this is not possible, place the boxes so that a natural barrier will visually separate them. As a last resort, offset the height of the boxes.
2) On large islands, structures should be placed first on the up and down stream points since these are the preferred nesting sites. On smaller islands, place the structure on the highest point. Those placed along the banks of rivers should be situated on top of the bank.
3) Try to place the boxes so that they blend into surrounding vegetation as much as possible and are sheltered from prevailing winds, but do not place the box where willows or other tall vegetation will block the gooses line of sight.
4) The boxes should be placed within 25 feet of the waters edge with a clear path for goslings to reach the water; the top of the box should be six feet above the ground. Over-water sites should be high enough to avoid flooding during the highest water levels, with a target height of about three feet during the nesting season.
The following map shows the areas where nesting boxes have been placed around the Cascade area. At each site there is a goose and wood duck box.
Site 1 is the Ficsher Community Pond
Sites 2 & 3 are along the old railroad grade on Crown Point
Placement of Nesting Boxes:
Placement of the boxes is the key to its success. Placement for wood duck boxes isnt as critical as that for goose boxes. Make sure the wood duck box is close to water and that there are no obstacles between the box and water that the chicks may have a hard time navigating through. The following list is the requirements for goose nesting boxes.
A critical part to insure that waterfowl use the nesting boxes is maitenance. If the goose boxes are not filled to the brim, it may not be used since goslings cannot negotiate a vertical rise of more than four inches and may get trapped inside. Wood duck boxes must be filled to about 4 to 6 inches below the hole so that the chicks do not get trapped inside. General maintenance of the boxes should be done in the summer or fall after nesting has occurred. The box should be checked and filled before each nesting season by the middle of February at the very latest.
Special Thanks To:
Warren Sedlacek at the Department of Parks and Recreation for buying materials for the boxes and for the nesting box plans.