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

Boosting Production with Baskets and Barriers

Kevin J. Brennan
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fergus Falls, Minnesota 56537

In the winter of 1986-87 968 nest baskets were supplied by Ducks Unlimited for placement on Federal Waterfowl Production Areas throughout Wetland Management Districts (WMD's) in Western Minnesota. These baskets were placed in wetlands to increase the production of waterfowl, especially of mallards. Baskets were monitored for use in 1987. Use in 1987 varied from 1% on the Litchfield WMD to 10% in the Morris WMD. Success varied from 20% on the Detroit Lakes WMD to 100% on the Litchfield WMD. The observed nest success rates indicated nest baskets are a viable management tool.

Six predator exclosures of various types have been operated within the Fergus Falls WMD for periods varying from 1 to 10 years. These exclosures were constructed and operated to increase waterfowl production. Management techniques, including cover removal around the exclosures, seasonal removal of predators and fertilization of a wetland within the exclosures were used to attract waterfowl to the exclosure. The exclosures were monitored yearly for nesting waterfowl use and success. Use varied from 2.6 nests per acre to .13 nests per acre with nest success as low as 0% and as high as 100%. Results of this work indicate predator barriers combined with other management techniques can boost waterfowl production.

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