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Ecology and Management of Islands, Peninsulas and Structures for Nesting Waterfowl

Effect of Artificial Nests on Mallard Production

Przemyslaw Majewski and Jacek Engel
Polish Hunting Association Research Station
62055 Czempin, Poland

During 1978-1985 production from artificial and natural nests was studied on 5000 ha of flooded area of the river valley, where number of mallard pairs varied from 380 to 1820. Each year 207-252 artificial nesting structures were available for ducks. 1354 nesting attempts in artificial structures and 210 in natural sites were searched. Proportion of artificial nests used to available were for combined data 64% for baskets, 70% for boxes and 60% for barrels. Number of nesting attempts were usually higher than nest used and combined data showed 75% of attempts per available baskets, 86% per boxes and 71% per barrels. Nest success was highest for boxes (60%) and barrels (61%). The lowest was for natural nests (22%). Predators caused 78-87% of nesting losses. Production expressed in ducklings at hatch per nesting attempt depended on type of nests and on season and varied from 1.5 to 1.6 (av. 1.6) for natural nests, 2.2-4.7 (av. 3.5) for baskets, 1.8-6.7 (av. 4.8) for boxes and 2.6-6.7 (av. 4.8) for barrels. Number of nest used and number of nesting attempts in artificial nests were not influenced by changes in density of pairs. It can be explained as preference of mallard toward nesting structures. The main problem is to avoid predation, avian by nest construction and mammal by adequate nest situation. In the study area well established artificial nests can increase mallard productivity up to 4 to 7 ducklings per nesting attempt placed in these structures.
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