Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Banding studies have shown that the hens have a pronounced homing tendency and will return to nest in the same general area where they were raised. Newly hatched ducklings, during the first few hours after emerging from the egg, obtain a lasting impression of certain aspects of their environment through a rapid learning process called imprinting. Ducklings are imprinted to know the calls of their mother and it is likely that they are also imprinted to the type of nest in which they hatched. Females hatched in a nest box will, therefore, tend to seek similar sites when they reach nesting age. Once a female has successfully nested in a nest box, she tends to return to the same box the following year.