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Movements and Habitat use of Franklin's
Ground Squirrels in Duck-Nesting Habitat

Introduction


Planting dense nesting cover (DNC) to provide upland-nesting ducks with increased security from nest predators is a common practice on areas managed for duck production in North America's prairie pothole region (Duebbert and Kantrud 1974, Duebbert and Lokemoen 1976, Higgins and Barker 1982). Although DNC is attractive to some duck species, its importance to the activities of predators of duck eggs is undetermined. The Franklin's ground squirrel inhabits dense cover throughout much of the prairie pothole region (Hall 1981). It is a predator of duck eggs (Sargeant et al. 1987) and has been implicated in severe predation on duck nests in fields of DNC in east-central North Dakota (Greenwood 1986).

Past studies of Franklin's ground squirrels have emphasized natural history (Sowles 1948, Haggerty 1968, Haberman and Fleharty 1971, Iverson and Turner 1972, Murie 1973), but little information is available on their movements and use of habitat. Our objective was to describe the movements and use of habitat by Franklin's ground squirrels on a federally owned WPA where upland habitat was primarily DNC fields of different ages.


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