Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HAROLD A. DOTY AND ANTHONY J. RONDEAU
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Wetlands Management District,
Route 1, Box 76, Fergus Falls, MN 56537
In order to protect both ducks and geese as well as their eggs from predators, manmade overwater nest sites were evaluated throughout the region for a number of years. Europeans have utilized structures for hundreds of years and have employed them to increase the overall production of wild ducks for specific areas. Locally, nesting success by mallards and Canada geese in overwater structures has generally been much higher than in a nearby upland nesting cover. While overall success in upland sites has ranged from 10 to 20%, the success rate of mallard nests in nearby nesting structures has often ranged from 75 to 90%. While a variety of different structure styles have proven effective, it is apparent that overwater positioning, installation, and maintenance are especially critical to the success of any overwater nesting structure project.
The effectiveness of overwater nesting structures to increase the rate of waterfowl nest success, by reducing nests lost to predators, is demonstrated throughout these trials. Overwater nesting structures provide an additional tool for waterfowl managers to use in their efforts to increase local waterfowl production.