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Homemade Nest Sites for Giant Canada Geese

Floating Nesting Platform

The main advantage of a floating platform is it can be used on reservoir bays or in situations of extreme water level fluctuations where an elevated structure is not appropriate. A floating platform is able to rise and fall with the changing water levels. The platform is held in place by a length of nylon rope attached to the platform and to an anchor at the other end. If properly anchored, the floating platform will shift position to face into the wind.

Another advantage is that practically all the components are of wood. Scrap pieces of telephone poles, boards, and other lumber can be used to build a floating nest platform at low cost (Figure 6).

JPG - Floating Nesting Structure
Fig. 6. Although floating nest platforms are accessible to predators, a determined pair may successfully defend their nest. (B. Martin)

A floating structure is less predator proof than the elevated types because raccoons or other predators can swim to reach it. Installation is relatively simple since the unit can be hauled or dragged with a vehicle over the ice to the selected location. Maintenance can be difficult if the structure has to be moved by boat. These platforms are very heavy and cumbersome, and are not recommended except for situations where other nesting structures are not appropriate. Also, these structures may become waterlogged over a period of time.

Materials Needed

Wood Approximately 30 lineal ft. 1 x 12-inch board
15 lineal ft. 1 x 6-inch board
5 lineal ft. 2 x 6-inch board
Cement blocks Two 8-inch cement blocks
Lag bolts Four 1/2 x 6-inch lag bolts
Bolts Three 1/2 x 6-inch bolts w/nuts and washers
Rope One 20-foot length of 1/2-inch nylon rope
Posts Two 5-inch diameter posts 8 feet long
Two 4-inch diameter posts 2 1/2 and 3 1/3 feet long.
Bale 1/2 bale of flax straw


The support frame is triangular in shape. It consists of two 5-inch diameter posts bolted together at one end and spaced apart at the other end with the 5-foot lengths of 2 x 6-inch lumber which are bolted in place. The bottom side of the triangular frame contains six pieces of 1 x 12-inch lumber nailed in place from one 5-inch diameter post across to the other post. Since the shape of the frame is pointed, the length of these boards will vary depending on what part of the frame they are nailed to. The two 4-inch diameter posts are mounted on top of the support frame as shown in Figure 7. A 30x30-inch nest box with three sides 12 inches high and one side 6 inches high and with a bottom of 1 x 6-inch boards is mounted on top of the two 4-inch diameter posts. The 6-inch high side faces the wide end of the support frame. This serves as a place for the goose to step up on before she enters the nest box. A piece of 1-12-inch lumber is nailed to the upper side of the support frame between the nest box and the wide end.

GIF - Consruction of Floating Structure
Fig. 7. Floating nest platforms are most suited for areas with extreme water fluctuations.

An alternative to the wood nest box is a plastic nest tub of the same type used in the North Dakota structure. This tub is fastened to the top of the raft similar to a wood nest box (Figure 8).

JPG - Floating Platform in the Field
Fig. 8. Floating platforms are heavy and require much maintenance. Innovations such as fiberglass nesting tubs and replacing other wood components with fiberglass, or plastic may improve the structure. (T. Kuck)

Styrofoam pieces can be attached to the bottom of the platform for added floatation. Other innovations used to increase floatation include substituting fiberglass tubes or PVC pipe for the wood support frame. Such modifications not only increase the life of the structure but also reduce its weight, making for easier handling.

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