These will GREATLY improve Survival for Nesting Females.
Toward the End of this Topic Page I am Adding Images Shared
by Swan Folks Far and Wide of their Swan Nesting Platforms.
To Enlarge Images – Right Click – Open in a New Tab.
As Hints of Spring are ALL Around.
IT is that Time Again. NESTING for Most Birds and Swans.
Many Native WildLife will have Young to Feed.
Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Bears, Coyotes, Coywolves, Fox, etc.
Unfortunately this means Vulnerable Swans will become Prey.
Watching Swans through their Nesting Season is Interesting.
Each Species of Swans have Different Timing and Nesting Behaviors.
In Early March Mute Swans are Checking for a Nest Location.
They Gather Piles of Materials for One to Two Weeks.
The Cob Builds a BIG Messy Nest.
And/Or the Pen will Pull together a Soft Cavity Nest.
The Pen will be EATING as she Prepares for Nesting.
Egg Laying takes 8 to 15 Days on Average. (Male Guards Eggs)
The Pen will “Sit” Full-Time 37 Days for Fertile Eggs to Hatch.
A VERY Vulnerable Time for Female Swans.
Concern for our Nesting Swans has Increased.
Several Time Large Predators have Dug Under the Pasture Fencing
..and Attack the Field Sheep and Goats.. Life is Scary for our Swans.
Most of the Year they Spend their Night Hours Floating Quietly out on their Pond. It is Nesting Season that puts our Swans at Greatest Risk.
I decided to Presume this Project Several Months Ago.
The Pond where our Swans are, has a Sheep Pasture on One Side.
I have been Hearing More and More about the CoyWolf Hybrids
as I Talk with other Swan Folks.
This is Occuring ALL Over PA and Many other Eastern States.
During the Last Months of 2018, some Large Predators dug under the Pasture Fence and Attacked ALL and Kills several of the Sheep.
It was SO Sad. And a Real Eye Opener for All of Us.
There has been another Attack in March 2020.
These Large Canine are Hungry.. WE are Worried.
These Large Hybrid Canines are Increasing in Numbers Every Year.
There are Lots of Websites that Discuss the CoyWolves.
Mute Swan Cob Trying to Protect his Family from a Coyote.
The location was Fall Brook in Freetown Massachusetts
Photographer (C) Dennis P Durette This Link may Not Work.
But, if you Search * Swan Coyote * the WebPage can be Viewed
While Search for Examples, I Found this YouTube Video…
Coyote feeding on a Trumper Swan, Winter in Yellowstone
The DNA of the Eastern Coyotes-Coywolf shows they are a Hybrid of the Smaller Western Coyotes, the Remaining Grey Wolves in Canada and Domestic Dogs (Hunting Dogs) that are Tied Outside.
They are not Solitary Animals like the Western Coyotes.
These Larger Canines will Travel in Packs and Hunt in the Day Time.
Their Fur Color, Pale to Dark, has Lots of Variation.
They LOOK like a German Shepherd with a Bushy Tail.
I hardly Speak with Anyone, anymore that does not mention
hearing the Howling at Night and the Farm Pets being Attacked.
This WILD Trumpeter Swans was not Pinioned.
But, it was NOT able to Escape being Snatched by this Clever Canine.
If a Pond has an Island, Swans Nesting on these Isolated
Areas have a Much Better Chance of Surviving Nesting Season.
During the Majority of the Year, our Swans have been Faithful
at Spending their Night Hours Floating OUT in their Pond Water.
But, Spring Nesting is Different. The Swans will do their Best
to “Sit” and Stay with their Nest & Eggs Day and Night.
Totally Vulnerable. Our Cob “Meadow” can NOT Defend against
these Large Pack Canines. Our Swans are NOW at HIGH Risk.
“Brooke” and “Meadow” will be 10 Years Old in 2019.
They have Nested each Spring starting in 2012.
We have been Lucky, they have not been Injured or Scared from their Nests.
Many of their Eggs have been Stolen over the Years.
The likely Culprits are Raccoons.
I have made Replacement Eggs.. when Needed.
Once the Swans can take their Tiny Cygnets out on their Water
they ALL will be Safer. At least from the Land Predators.
SO>>>> I Decided I could not just allow them to be Killed.
This May not Work. They May not be Willing to Use it.
We are Trying and Hoping this Floating Nest Platform will Protect them.
My Husband and I felt we could NOT do this Project ourselves.
We hired a Professional Craftsman. I Drew the Plans and he
used his Skills to go from Paper Plans to Construction.
On the Day the Platform was Delivered, we Put our Cob in a
Carrier to keep Everyone Safe from his Spring Hormones.
Helpful Hands joined the Effort and the Team did a Great Job
getting the Platform into the Pond.
My job: Stay out of the Way.
And try to get some Photos to Document this Project.
The Man who Built the Nesting Platform did a Wonderful Job.
For his First time, it is PERFECT. Floats at the Proper Height.
The Ramp Rests just under the Water for Easy Slide Up..
I am SO Pleased ! !
Now we need to get “Brooke” up on it.
She is SO Close to Laying Eggs. Within the Week.
The Swans are Ignoring the “NEW Furniture” in their Pond.
We are ALL Brainstorming how to get them to go UP on the Platform.
and Realize all the Nest Material they needs is THERE.
After Loading the Platform with Nesting Materials,
we Placed a Dish Pan in the Back with WET Feed Mixture.
I am Hoping the Waterfowl Pellet Feed will Smell Good.
When it is Wet it Smells like Fresh Dog Food.
We have used Wet Feed to “Bait” Swans with Pretty Good Success.
I am Hoping if they can not get Feed from their Normal Container
the Smell will get their Attention.
“Brooke” is Eating LOTs to get ready for Nesting.
I am HOPING she will Smell the Wet Feed and GO Up on the Platform.
Tossing Floating Pellets into the Water by the Platform.
Flopping Lettuce on the Ramp and in the Water.
After Several Days.. NO Interest from the Swans.
The Next Idea we are doing is to Put One of my Garden Decoy Swans
on the Platform.. These are Pretty Close to Life Size..
WE Need the Swans to Climb up and Explore.. Fingers Crossed.
I Hoped “Brooke” would want to Check the Swan on the Platform.
But, she Realized very Quickly that is was a Decoy. NO Interest.
“Meadow” did not Like seeing this Intrusive “WHITE” Swan on HIS Pond.
It kept him busy Stalking and Studying the Decoy.
OH “Brooke” Please Walk-Up and Check-Out the Platform.
Here we Tossed Yummy Lettuce Leaves OUT onto the Platform…
Hoping to Tempt with Favorite Salad Greens.. NO Luck..
The Swans will NOT Go up onto their Nest Platform..
” I WISH I Could Talk to them Five Minutes a Month.”
We did NOT Get the Platform into the Pond Early Enough for the Swans to “Maybe” Understand what it was for.. “Brooke” had been Gathering her Nest Material for about a Week before the Platform was Finished and in the Pond. She Started to Lay Eggs Three Days after the Nesting Box was in the Pond.
We will have to Hold our Breath and Worry through their Spring Nesting.. I know the Last Date we will Allow “Brooke” to stay on her Eggs..
They Rarely Hatch.. After 42 Days we will Remove all Unhatched Eggs.
We Tried Everything we Could Think of… Our Pen had Already Picked her Nesting Site for Spring 2019. She Laid her Clutch of Eggs.. and Started to “Sit” to Incubate. She wanted to Nest Against a Fence, just Feet from her Pond.
Our Cob, “Meadow” did his Job Patrolling and Protecting… We were all Lucky.
While our Pen was “Sitting” on her Big Messy Nest, the Little Duck on the Pond started to use the Swans’ Platform for their Nests.. They were Safer.
We Checked the Swans’ Nest Weekly. Checking if Eggs were Missing.
There were Two Eggs Stolen from the Nest.
And Checking for any Signs “Brooke” had Injuries.
I Like to Bring more Nesting Materials when we Visit and Check her Nest.
I put these Fluffy Dried Grasses Near her Nest and “Brooke” will Incorporate it after we Leave.
Our Beautiful Pen looks Good.. Fingers Crossed the Nesting Season Ends and she is Safe.
Nine more Days to Check and Worry…..
On Incubation Day 43 we Encourage our Pen into the Pond.. and Removed all the Eggs. None were Fertile.. Most Close to Exploding.
Now “Brooke” can go and EAT !!
I am Adding Notes about the Following Days.. “Brooke” has not been Interested in the Nesting Platform.. I am Glad we Tried..
Summer Passed Peacefully. Platform is Floating in Place.
The Little Pond Ducks LOVE the Platform.. They Feel Safe there.
We are Glad the Little Ducks are Safe.. They are Very Cute..
Time to Think about Next Spring.
2019 Comes to a Close for this Part of our Story….
This First Year was “Try This and Try That.”
Another Benefit of a FLOATING Nest Platform.
If there are Heavy Spring Rains, the Platform will Rise as Flood Waters Swell. Each Year Many Swan Eggs are Lost during Spring Flooding.
It was Very Sad to see the Swans Lose their Precious Eggs to Heavy Rain Flooding.
I am Adding Images of Swan Nesting Platforms shared by other Swan Folks.
If you do an Internet SEARCH for:
“Swan Floating Nest Box” or “Swan Floating Nest Platform”
There are Several Images onLine. Several Commercially Available.
If you are a DIY Person, there are Ideas.. These can be Built.
Our Structure is Mainly Pressure Treated Lumber.
I had the Exterior Covered with TimberTech AZEK Composit.
We have AZEK Material on our Deck – NO Painting.
LOVE the Stuff. Much more durable then Wood. NO Splinters.
We added Plasitc Lattice on the Walking Surface.
This will Allow Toe Claw Grip and good Drainage.
Various Floataions would Work..
This One has Large PVC Pipe Tubes with Heavy Duty Rubber Caps
Double Sealed to Prevent Water Leaking in.
ALL the Hardware is Stainless Steel..
ALL Screws, Screw Eyes and Quick Link Connectors.
We Purchased 2 – 75 Foot Reels of Stainless Chain.
Chains are better – Swans will Chew on Ropes.
The Excess Length will allow us Freely to Move the Platform.
We will want to Clean it after Nesting.
And, we might need to Check the Eggs without someone going out in a Boat.
The Platform needs to be Anchored/Positioned out in Deeper Water.
Try to have SOME Shade during Afternoon Hours.
REMEMBER Raccoons can Swim.
So, this is not a Solution for these Nest Raiders.
Our Swans had Eggs Stolen while Nesting on a Gated Island.
When we checked the Eggs over the Five Weeks, there would be about ONE Big Egg missing each week.
And they Lost MANY more Eggs while Nesting on Land.
THANK YOU SWAN FRIENDS for Sharing YOUR Swan Nesting Platform Images..
First are of the Swan Platform Images from Oranmore, Ireland.
These Wild Swans were Flooded out Year after Year, until a Nice Man make this Platform for them.
In the Netherlands, the City of Amsterdam Built Platforms along their Canals for their Wild Swans to Nest on.. No Images of any Swans on these Platforms.. But, One Pair of Swans Nesting by a Busy Marina.
During the Nesting Time, the Cob became Aggressive to a Boater.
Several Days Later he Disappeared..
The Pen-Dam Hatched most of her Eggs and Raised them for several Months alone.
NOW to our Southern Swan Friends in Sunny Florida
Built with a Good Friend on a Warm Afternoon.
TEN – 10 Minutes after the Ramp was Added the Cygnets were Exploring the Platform.. I am SO Jealous ! But, Happy for DL and her Swans.
Then to a Lake in OHIO.. and a Platform for their Beloved Swans..
This Canada Goose took up Nesting almost Immediately.
Not sure How ?? In May the Lake Swans were Using the New Nesting Platform.
From Pierre – To Build Basic Specs:
The Top Platform is 5 feet by 5. The Skirt adds another two feet all around.
There are 6 PVC Pipes 7 feet long by 4 inch, Water Proof Sealed Caps at each end. This make it float perfectly.
Be Sure to ADD Stainless Straps to keep the Sealed PVC Pipes in Place.
The Surface is Stable in the Water and will hold Two Adult Swans Easily
with Nesting Material and Cygnets.
To keep in a Fixed Location in the Water.. Consider Large Rust Proof Stainless Eye Screws and Stainless Chain. (Rope is a Tangle Hazard).
Take Platform in – Store for the Winter to Prevent any Damage from Ice.
Another Swan Nesting Platform from GEORGIA.. THANKs Folks.
They shared a Series of Images – Fun Project.
The Swans will Supervise this Building Project.
This Swan Nesting Platform is not Floating.. It is on Support Posts.
It will stay in Place regardless of the Water Level or Weather Conditions.
Now the Challenge is to get the Swans UP On the Platform.
Will they be Tempted with Favorite Foods and Treats ???
Will they Explore and Understand that this is for their Eggs.
OH GOOD, YEAH One Swan is ON the Ramp. Good Job !!!
Now for a Little Adjustment to the Ramp..
Yeah ! This Time it was Easier.. “Your Treats are UP Here !”
There is Time to become Comfortable with the Platform.
Nesting Season is about a Month Away… WE are READY !
OH NO !! There are Squatters !
Canada Geese and Turtles Like this Spot !!
The Swans have a Mind of their Own.. We Tried.. They Picked this Spot.
We Love our Swans, we Want them to be Safe..
I will Add more Examples as they are Shared.
This is a Topic Page in Progress.. MARCH 2020
(C) Linda M.Sweger I Will Add more..Fingers Crossed.