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Coastal Kingdom | The DIY Naturalist | Season 4 | Episode 4

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Coastal Kingdom | The DIY Naturalist | Season 4 | Episode 4


-Funding for “Coastal Kingdom” is provided by the ETV Endowment of South Carolina, which proudly supports this program.

Through the generosity of our members and donors, the ETV Endowment has funded educational and entertaining programming like “Coastal Kingdom” for more than 40 years.

[ Saw buzzing ] -I’m a nature guy, but one of my other favorite hobbies is to build things.

I like to do woodworking and metalworking and work with power tools.

So today we’re going to combine those two hobbies, and we’re going to show you guys how to build some nesting boxes and other things that will help with your nature studies.

♪♪ ♪♪ So, look at that little guy.

Okay, we got something big on.

There we go.

We’ve got the bird.

And there’s already a chick in there.

♪♪ ♪♪ I have always been interested in pollinator boxes, so a lot of our native pollinator species will use holes, natural holes in logs and things like that.

And that’s where they deposit their eggs and usually some sort of food for those eggs.

So what we’re going to do is make one of these and we’re going to start with this block.

Now, this one’s already been cut at an angle.

So we’ve done the hard part.

But look how this is — This is a chunk right here.

But it’s very deep because I want to make sure the holes are good and deep.

Everything I’ve read says that the holes have to be four or five or six inches deep.

And so that’s what these are going to be.

♪♪ So, I’m going to — I’ve got a couple of different sized bits because not all these animals use the same size hole.

♪♪ ♪♪ So we have lots of different holes, different sizes.

Now, they’re not exactly straight.

But [Chuckles] I don’t think the pollinators really care how straight they are, but they’re spaced out enough where I think we could have lots of animals use this.

Part of the problem, though, is I got to get the holes deeper, and you can’t really do that with the drill press.

So I’m going to switch to a hand drill, and then I think I can make them deep enough where they’re more effective.

♪♪ And these are not standard bits.

These things are really long because I want to make sure I get these holes deep enough.

♪♪ [ Laughs ] Well, that didn’t work very well.

So no wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere.

This is going to be interesting.

♪♪ There we go.

We’re out.

Okay, I think that’s all of them.

And we got a lot of holes in here, a lot of different sizes, but it may be a little bit silly, but I want to put a little roof on top of here.

And that way it’ll [Laughs] protect them if they’re going in and out or not.


I think that part’s good.

Now, the other tough part about this is going to be mounting it.

So I think what we’ll do is put a back on it.

So we are done.

The next thing we need to do is install this, but I think it looks pretty good.

So we’re going to mount this, and we’re here in my backyard and it just doesn’t require too much.

Put a couple of little screws in here.

And this is the right orientation.

This is facing kind of south.

That’s not going anywhere.

So the reason for putting this thing out is it attracts native pollinators.

This will attract animals that will not only pollinate our garden and our native plants, but also it will produce more pollinators that will do the same thing here in other places.

So this is definitely a beneficial thing to do.

I can’t wait to come back and check it out and see if anybody’s moved in.

So, I want to build some crayfish traps.

Now, I’ve watched a ton of YouTube videos and I have my supplies.

And so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

And we’re going to start with this wire.

This is kind of a coated wire that should hold up well, you know, after it gets wet and shouldn’t rust, but what we’re going to do is make a crayfish trap that’s used commercially.

It’s called a pillow trap.

And there’s a lot of varieties of this.

So first thing we need to do is form a tube.

Now, I have these little clips.

Now, I’m using some crimpers that are specifically for these clips.

In fact, they came together, and you want to crimp these down just as — just as tight as you can get them.

♪♪ Okay.

I think we’re good.

So we have this tube and these are on here really, really good.

So the next thing we want to do is squeeze this and form kind of our shape.

And we want this to be in the middle.

See if I can use the table to help me do that.

What I want to do is start putting clips along here.

Okay, I want to leave several of these open because these are going to be our openings.

This is going to have four different openings.

So this is going to be one.

There’ll be one here and there’ll be one there and one there.

♪♪ Okay, so that side is done.

What I’m going to have to do is invert these and kind of push them inside out.

So the first thing I’m going to do is put some gloves on because I’m definitely going to need them.

And this, I think this is going to be the hard part because I got to push all this metal… inside out.

♪♪ I’ll tell you.

There is no easy way to do this.

This is — Maybe what I can do is reach in through here.

That’s kind of working.

And you see what I’m doing?

I’m trying to make an entryway that the crayfish can crawl in, but still have maybe a little bit of trouble getting out.

♪♪ Just a lot — a lot of ben– [ Laughs ] ♪♪ Okay, so I think we all agree this is not a beautiful crayfish trap, but I think it’s going to work, I really do.

So it’s got the openings.

We now have to put a door on it, sort of an access door, because what we want to be able to do is get inside and get the crayfish or whatever ends up in this trap out of it.

So we can use this hole and just kind of shake the animals out or even reach in and get them.

I think this is going to work.

And so what we need is some bait and then we need to go set it.

♪♪ So I’ve got my trap ready to go.

I’ve got some kind of questionable shrimp in here, but I don’t think the animal’s going to care.

But one of the things I noticed is something going on here that’s just absolutely amazing.

And if you look right in here, you’ll see that there are hundreds and hundreds of caterpillars.

It looks like they’re forest tent caterpillars.

And you see how the vegetation is kind of shaking like that.

So what they do is they’ll take the part of their body and wiggle it, and that must confuse predators.

You cannot find a limb that doesn’t have some caterpillars on it.

But I’ll tell you what’s amazing is I can hear — it sounds like it’s almost raining a little bit, but I don’t think that’s rain.

I think that’s actually frass, droppings from caterpillars that’s hitting the ground.

You can just imagine how many caterpillars we’re talking about, if that’s what I’m hearing.

I really, really think that’s what it is.

♪♪ I thought I had the distinct feeling that someone was crawling on me.

But there are so many caterpillars around.


When you walk into the woods, sometimes you see stuff like this and it’s just absolutely amazing.

♪♪ Okay, so we are ready to set our trap.

And this is a great spot.

I’ve seen crayfish here before.

And there’s a nice shallow spot here.

And I’m going to put this in a spot.

I don’t want to put — You know, sometimes you might put this completely underwater.

But what I want to do is make sure that if something else gets caught in it besides a crayfish or a fish, it’ll still be able to breathe.

So this looks like a good spot.

And so what we got to do is give it a couple of days and come back and see what happens.

So, I’ve noticed a bunch of bluebirds around lately, and my old bluebird box is kind of disintegrated.

It lasted for many years, but it’s time to make a new one, and this is something that you can easily do.

So let’s make a bluebird box.

So, we need to cut — looks like a 13 1/2 and two 9s.

[ Saw buzzing ] ♪♪ Okay.

So we have a back and a front and two sides.

So now we need a floor and a roof.

♪♪ But one thing that is important, this is not pressure-treated wood.

So this is some wood I found.

But it’s not pressure-treat.

And you don’t want to use that for nesting boxes or any wildlife-attracting things because it’s got some really strong toxins in it, which of course preserve the wood but aren’t good for the animals.


One of the things we have to do is we need to put a hole in this nesting box, because obviously the birds have to be able to get in.

So we’re going to use an inch and a half hole because that seems to be a really good size for bluebirds.

[ Drill whirring ] And you want to take this slow and be careful, obviously.

And there we go.

That looks perfect.

So this is a really, really simple box.

You can make this as complicated as you want to and you can make these really, really fancy.

But for our purposes we just want a standard box.

So I’m going to use a little bit of glue because I want this thing to hold up well.

♪♪ Now we’re going to put the top on.

So what we need to do now is attach this door so that we can slide it open.

So one of the reasons for that is we want to be able to get in here and clean out old nesting materials and stuff like that.

♪♪ ♪♪ Okay.

So we have our box.

We have a way to get into it if we need to.

We have some ventilation and we also have our drainage.

But I wanted to put one more thing on.

So I made this earlier.

This is a little — It’s kind of a hole extender.

So this is the same size, 1 1/2 inches.

And I’m going to glue this right on top I think that’s going to look — That’s going to look really nice.

So all we got to do is let the glue dry on this and then we’ll go install it.

Okay, so I’ve got all my equipment I think that I think I need to install this bluebird box, and we picked a spot that I think is pretty good.

We’re trying to not get too close to trees, but at the same time have a little bit of cover.

I’m going to slide the baffle on.

And you see how that’s going to work.

And it would be tough for a raccoon or other animal to get up here.

I mean, it’s not perfect, but this will do a much better job of protecting the bluebirds.

Now, what’s going to happen is bluebirds are going to come in and pick the — hopefully pick this spot out.

A pair will start to bring in nesting materials and it’ll take two to three weeks for them to build a nest in this box.

And then they’ll lay eggs, and they lay one egg a day until they’ve laid the whole clutch.

Then they start to incubate them.

And if you think about it, that’s really important because they need to all hatch about the same time.

And then the eggs will hatch in about 14 days, about two weeks or so.

And then it takes them about two weeks before they fledge and come out of the box, so they’re really good parents and they spend an awful lot of time after the babies hatch, flying out, catching insects and bringing them in and feeding the babies.

So I think what we’re going to do is just wait and see who uses this.

And hopefully there’ll be a family of bluebirds in here.

[ Birds chirping ] ♪♪ If you watch “Coastal Kingdom,” you realize that we love traps and we use a lot of traps.

So one of the traps I wanted to make is a crab snare.

Now, I’ve seen these — this type of trap before.

So this is one probably for Dungeness crab out west, and it’s — which are much bigger, heavier crabs.

And you see how this works.

You put bait in the little box right here, and then you just throw it out with a fishing rod or lower it down from a pier and then just let it sit there for a while.

And eventually the crabs kind of come in, crawl — these kind of set like this.

Crabs crawl through the loops, and then eventually you sort of pull it tight and the crabs claws and legs get caught in the trap.

So, you know, I don’t think this would work very well for blue crabs.

So what I wanted to do is make a slightly different one.

This one looks a little bit silly, but I think it’s going to work, I really do, and same sort of deal.

It’s got a little box that I’m going to put bait in and then it’s got all these loops made out of monofilament fishing line, and I’m going to attach it to a fishing rod, attach it to this thing and then throw it out and let it sit there.

And then when I feel any kind of resistance or anything messing with it, a bite, so to speak, I’ll just kind of reel it in real quickly and hopefully have a bunch of blue crabs, or at least one crab attached to it.

So I think this might really work and I’m really anxious to go try it out.

Sometimes we use sort of store-bought traps, like this minnow trap right here that has really been through it.

In fact, there’s a couple holes where blue crabs have managed to punch little holes through it, so it’s just not in very good shape, that’s for sure.

So what we’re going to do is make our own, and we’re going to use hardware cloth like this.

In fact, it’s the same quarter-inch hardware cloth that this one is made out of, and we’re going to form a trap.

We need to make a tube first of all.

So we’ll start with that.

We’re going to form a tube.

I’m going to put this together with cable ties.

And they work pretty well.

So, this particular wire is galvanized so it will resist rust pretty well.

Now, if you use this in saltwater, eventually it’s going to break down for sure.

But at least for a while it’s going to do just fine.

♪♪ These cable ties are a little bit like duct tape.

They’re good for a lot of different things, and I tend to use cable ties for a lot of projects.


So we have — it looks like we’re done with our tube, but obviously that’s not going to catch anything.

So we need a funnel.

And if you look at our other trap, you see it’s got a funnel that kind of goes in.

So what we need to do is make a funnel.

Now, I’ve cut one out, just kind of a half moon.

And what we’re going to do is just turn this into a funnel.

It’s then going to go into here and we’ll trim off the edge and you can see how that’s going to work.

And animals are going to swim in and not be able to get back out.

♪♪ Let’s see if that’s going to work.

Oh, yeah.

It’s going to be about right.

So one of the things I’m most excited about in this show is not only are we making traps, we’re going to get to test them out.

And that’s obviously my favorite part.

So one of the other things is you got to be really, really responsible with these too and make sure that, you know, you don’t accidentally catch something.

And, you know, you got to check these traps regularly and very, very carefully.

That looks about perfect.

So now what I’m going to do is put a couple of cable ties in to hold the funnel in place.

♪♪ Okay.

So let’s put one on the other side.

And then we got to put a door in because obviously we need access.

We need to be able to get into the trap.

♪♪ I’m getting ink all over my hands from the marker I used to trace out the pattern.

♪♪ Guys, it’s a lot of fun, but I have about a million little tiny cuts.

I think gloves are probably a good idea if you’re going to make one of these traps.

And, you know, if I had it to do over again, I think I would — I would put gloves on.

I think I’m going to need to wear gloves when I’m using this trap.

It is maybe sharper than it should be.

Okay, so we have our trap.

It looks pretty good.

This took a little longer than I’d planned, and I have a few more little cuts on my hand than I’d planned, but it looks really good.

So let’s go set this and see what we’re going to catch.

♪♪ Okay, so we have our homemade trap.

Looks like it’s held up pretty well.

And I can’t wait to check this and see if it’s going to work.

Now, I’ve loaded it with delicious shrimp, and this is going to be a really good spot.

So I’m going to pop it in and let it just start hopefully catching stuff.

I’m dropping — Of course I’m going to tie it off because I don’t want it to, you know, get swept away and then end up in the marsh.

But I picked this spot because this is a nice outflow from one of our impoundments, and this is a saltwater pond.

And so the outflow is coming out into the marsh.

And of course, this area, you know, there’s all kinds of cool stuff that’s going to live in here.

And so hopefully they’re going to come up and investigate our trap.

So this structure is a rice trunk.

And we’re not — obviously not using it for rice culture or anything like that.

But it is a really good way to manage water levels in these ponds.

So what I’m going to do is tie this off and we’re going to come back and check it a little bit later.

Okay, so it’s been a couple days and it’s time to check our trap.

And so it’s right here.

It’s kind of hard to walk in this thing.

Okay, here’s the big moment.

There’s quite a few in there actually.

Door works well.

Here’s a pretty good-sized one.

And boy, they can pinch you pretty hard.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good size.

That’d be big — We’re going to let all these go, but that’d be big enough to eat if you wanted to.

It looks like a procambarus of some sort.

I’m not exactly sure which one.

Crayfish can be really hard to identify, so you have to have a first-form male, so they’re kind of tough.

Let me see how many that I can put in one hand without getting really pinched.

There’s a good one right there.


This one really got me.

There’s probably some rule as to how many crayfish you can hold on to at one time without getting pinched.

But look at that one.

You know, crayfish are primarily detritivores, so they’re going to feed on any kind of plant material or animal material, anything that’s kind of broken down, little pieces of things, and they’ve got these really delicate little claws.

And of course they can pinch pretty good, but they’re also good at picking up little tiny pieces of things and feeding on them.

And wetlands like this are just really, really important for crayfish.

This is an area that’s going to dry up, and when it dries up, these animals can actually move up onto dry land or into dry spots, dig a burrow straight down to the water table and stay in that burrow.

And you’ll see these burrows because they have little chimneys on them that kind of stick up above the ground.

So lots of stuff eats crayfish, things like wood storks, big wading birds, you know, great egrets and great blue herons feed on them.

Barred owls eat them.

In fact, barred owls are often seen feeding on these guys as well as otters, raccoons.

Pretty much everything eats crayfish, including crayfish, which eat crayfish.

So our trap worked.

I mean, we’ve actually done pretty well.

So shrimp’s a good bait.

And most importantly, our trap worked.

So I’m getting pinched pretty good here.

I think it’s time to call it a day.

♪♪ ♪♪ Alright, so we’re back.

Looks like the tide has come up quite a bit.

So there’s a lot more water in here.

But let’s pull this trap and see.

I’m hoping there’s some stuff in it.

And look at that.

There’s lots of fish in it, so that worked remarkably well.

So I think what I’m going to do is I’m going to see what these are.

So I’m going to climb back up on here.

I have a little container with some water in it and let’s see what we have.

Boy, that’s a nice selection.

And get rid of some of this bait.

But look at that!

So, that is really impressive.

Now, I see just a couple of species.

I see a little pinfish here it looks like.

And then lots and lots of mummichogs or mud minnows.

So not a ton of diversity, but boy, a lot of fish.

That’s pretty impressive for just a few minutes.

Anyway, really kind of cool.

I’ll tell you what’s really fun is not only did we catch fish, which is always a good time, but we also caught fish in a trap that we made ourselves for just a couple of bucks.

♪♪ So here is that crab snare that we talked about earlier, and I baited it with a delicious assortment of fish, shrimp and chicken.

I’m not exactly sure what the crabs would like most, but there’s a lot of good things to eat here.

So what we’re going to do is flip this thing in and see if we can catch something.

Maybe I can just kind of flip this in here.

♪♪ That ought to create some interest.

It may take a minute for them to find it.


There we go.

There’s a couple crabs on it.

So what I’m going to do is try and kind of jerk this thing out, and then hopefully the slipknots will get around their legs or their claws or something like that.

I’m about ready to give it a try.

I’ve never done this before.

This is all very experimental.

But here we go.

I’m going to give it a try.

Sure enough.

Look at that.

This worked beautifully.

So not a big crab, but man, I’m actually kind of impressed.

Looks like the slipknot is perfectly around the base of one of these claws.

I’m going to get this little guy out now.

Of course, even a crab this size can get you pretty good, so I think I’m going to set it down on the ground and see if I can get this crab out of here.

They’re really pretty formidable.

You know what I’m going to do?

I’m going to try the old double-claw technique.

And so this is not a big crab by any stretch.

This is — Looks like a little male.

Definitely is.

You can tell by the apron here.

If it was a female, that apron would be much wider and look kind of different.

Also a lot of blue on the claws and no orangey claw tips like you would see on females.

This is just a really common animal in the marsh, and it’s a magnificent creature and one that we just love to see.

So we got to get this guy back in the water.

But I am just delighted that this actually worked.

And it could be you’d have some ideas for some designs that you might try, but I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as catching an animal like this, but even more importantly, catching it with a trap that you built.

Thanks for joining us on “Coastal Kingdom.”

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Funding for “Coastal Kingdom” is provided by the ETV Endowment of South Carolina, which proudly supports this program.

Through the generosity of our members and donors, the ETV Endowment has funded educational and entertaining programming like “Coastal Kingdom” for more than 40 years.

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