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A floating wildfowl nest for use on rivers

This design, successfully used on the Ray, near Oxford, is intended to overcome the problems posed by strong currents, which make it difficult for wildfowl to nest successfully on rivers.

Chick survival is best where the floating nest is sited on a quiet backwater with gently sloping banks so that, when a chick leaves the nest, it can get to the shore and climb out despite the current.

  1. Drive a suitable length of 50 mm diameter steel pipe into the riverbed to provide an anchor pole on which the floating nest can rise and fall with changes in water level.
  2. Cut out a circular platform from marine plywood and cut a hole in its centre so that it fits over the anchor pipe.
  3. Screw three boards to the circular plywood piece, so that they form an equilateral triangle to make a frame underneath the platform for the floats.
  4. Strap three 4.5 litre plastic or metal tins to the triangular frame, one each side. If metal tins are used, they should be well painted with bitumen paint and coated inside with a spoonful of old engine oil before capping.
  5. Attach three metal struts, evenly spaced, to the edge of the platform, joined at the upper end to a ring that fits over the anchor pipe. This upper ring, with the hole in the platform, forms the bearing on which the nest rises and falls on the pipe.
  6. Fasten a conical covering of light but firm netting around the outside of the strut assembly, and use vegetation to provide some shelter. Leave a 150 mm diameter entrance on one side.
  7. Slide the platform down over the pipe. If it tends to spin in the current, attach a rudder to the floats to keep it properly orientated. The entrance hole should be arranged to face the nearest bank.