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Factors Associated with Duck Nest Success
in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada

Predator Community

Sargeant et al. (1993) reported the makeup of predator communities on our study areas during 1983-85. Species present that are known to prey on nesting ducks or their eggs included the coyote (Canis latrans), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon (Procyon lotor), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), badger (Taxidea taxus), mink (Mustela vison), weasel (Mustela erminea and M. frenata), Franklin's ground squirrel (Spermophilus franklinii), American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), blackbilled magpie (Pica pica), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni), red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis), ferruginous hawk (B. regalis), and great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).

Composition of predator communities and abundance of individual species varied considerably among study areas, but varied little annually (Sargeant et al. 1993). Sargeant et al. (1993) found at least 5 species of predatory mammals and 6 species of predatory birds on every study area. The striped skunk and great horned owl were present on all study areas. Other predators were more specific to certain physiographic zones. Franklin's ground squirrel and red-tailed hawk were more common on study areas in parkland; badger, Swainson's hawk, and ferruginous hawk were more common on study areas in prairie.

Coyotes, red foxes, or both, were present on many study areas, but the 2 species were seldom present on the same parts of individual study areas (Sargeant et al. 1993). Coyotes often were associated with more remote parts of study areas away from human habitation, such as large pastures; red foxes were found mostly in cultivated land.

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