If you're not an avid outdoors person in Michigan, no worries. You don't have to be to wonder the purpose of this odd discovery.

Folks spending time along a metro beach in Southeast Michigan spotted this contraption we'll show you and had questions.

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What are the weird cylinder things on poles near water?

If you're not outdoorsy, like this writer, you might think it this was an odd billboard at first glance, but no. Look closer.

Credit Dival Park Facebook
Credit Dival Park Facebook

The above picture, from Dival Park, is actually a nest found near the Harrison Township Metro Beach boat launch. At first, my brain thought it might be a nest for a pterodactyl or osprey, but no.

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It turns out, it's a duck box. Sometimes referred to as a "hen tube" or Mallard duck nesting box. (A mallard below, for your reference.)

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Duck Boxes Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes.

Some are wooden octagonal in shape with a round hole cut out for the bird to nest. Other versions look like a small, traditional birdhouse.

The reason you spot them on poles along some of Michigan's shorelines is to provide shelter away from predators. They also help keep the duck population healthy.

Read More: Exactly How Tall are Michigan's Famous Sand Dunes?

You can build a Mallard duck nesting box fairly easily.

Of course, if you build it, they will come. Duck boxes will attract fowl to lay eggs. You'll need to freshen up the nesting material annually. Ducks are picky that way.

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