Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Mark W. Gorges
Bureau of Land Management
Miles City, Montana 59301
We have included islands in new pond construction where possible. We have cut off peninsulas on existing ponds to create islands. We have used a three legged platform for goose nesting structures on small impoundments and on islands in rivers and ponds. Last year we started installing wood duck boxes on islands and along the banks of the Yellowstone river and its tributaries.
For us, islands in small impoundments are low maintenance structures which provide permanent nesting habitat for geese and ducks. Even the best livestock grazing systems cannot guarantee shoreline vegetative cover every year. Islands, however, are not grazed, and there are no fences to maintain. Our use of goose nesting platforms has evolved from shallow water placement, where they were subjected to severe ice damage, to shore or island placement where maintenance is much reduced. Canada geese (Branta canadensis) nested this year on two of our structures setup this spring, one on an island and one on the shore of a three acre pond. Our new wood duck box program has produced some squirrels. Wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are using boxes in our area, so we are not too discouraged by the lack of nesters in our first year.
BLM is doing waterfowl enhancement work on the ground. Our small scattered projects contribute to improving waterfowl nesting in southeastern Montana.