Building a pond island
Radio interview source: Pat Schlarbaum, wildlife diversity technician, Iowa DNR
Haven for pond creatures
Our pond is always in motion. Frogs jumping, ducks diving for dinner, and geese just hanging around. If we had an island jutting up out of the water, I'm sure we'd attract even more wildlife. It benefits waterfowl and shorebirds that use it as escape cover, nesting habitat, and for feeding.
Wildlife diversity tech Joe Schlarbaum says since most predators won't bother to swim out there, islands provide a safe haven for many pond creatures.
"Raccoons, coyotes and other predators may prey on a nesting water foul species even as big as a trumpeter swan if they're on shore," Schlarbaum says. "But you get them off on an island, something they can defend, your success rates really are increased."
Winged predators that steal eggs might still be successful, but a lush area with lots of vegetation will help hide the nesting birds. Another benefit of floating plants is their root system. It acts as filter, sucking up excess nutrients in the water. Soft, flowing roots also provide an area for fish to hide, spawn, and feed on.
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