Get inspired to attract hooded mergansers and wood ducks to your area with these easy-to-make DIY nest box plans. They work best where these ducks love to nest—wooded wetlands, riverbanks and shorelines.
Both species are secondary cavity nesters—meaning they can’t create their own nest hole in a tree like a woodpecker can, so they rely on pre-existing holes. These may be made by other species or created by natural processes of decay or limb breakage. They also readily use built nest boxes.
Here are a few tips on placement and construction:
- Recess the bottom ¼-inch so rain doesn’t seep across the floor into the nest.
- Install nest boxes near, or over, water.
- Use naturally rot-resistant cedar lumber
- Add hardware cloth inside below the hole so young can climb out
- Add 2 to 3 inches of wood shavings to the bottom of the box.
- Clean shavings out annually and add new wood shavings
- Place box 4 to 6 feet high on a pole, post or tree with box opening facing water.
- Use 10- or 12-inch-wide lumber. Increase nest success with a predator barrier attached to box poles using metal conical guards, slippery plastic or other barriers.
From the Spring 2018 issue of Iowa Outdoors magazine