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

Increasing Waterfowl Nest Densities and Success By Managing Predators on Islands in Northeastern North Dakota

Roger Hollevoet, Michael McEnroe, and Rick Schnaderbeck
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Devils Lake, North Dakota 58301


Grassland conversion, wetland drainage, haying, burning and cultivation equals disaster for breeding and nesting ducks. Add increased predation on small areas of managed uplands to the list and ducks production looks bleak. As wildlife managers we understand the ever present need for habitat preservation and restoration. If programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, Water Bank, and wildlife land acquisition are successful, there is a glimmer of hope for maintaining duck populations. In the meantime we looked at managing islands to maintain or increase duck populations. Islands can provide secure nesting cover for ducks. In 1984-1985 we inventoried natural islands in northeastern North Dakota for waterfowl nests. In 1985 we searched seven islands totaling 29 acres and found 68 nests with an average apparent success of 34 percent. Approximately 66 percent of the nests were destroyed by mammalian predation. In 1986 we initiated predator control on the islands and found 323 nests with an apparent success of 67 percent. Predator control was continued in 1987 and 1988. Total nests increased to 387 nests with 83 percent apparent success in 1987. Current year (1988) data is being collected and tabulated. As a result of our studies, we found that predator control on islands in northeastern North Dakota can be an effective way of producing ducks.
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