Choice of nest boxes by cavity-nesting ducks

  • Published source details Lumsden H., Robinson J. & Hartford R. (1986) Choice of nest boxes by cavity-nesting ducks. The Wilson Bulletin, 98, 167-168.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide artificial nesting sites for wildfowl

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide artificial nesting sites for wildfowl

    A series of replicated studies in 1977-84 at two lakes in eastern Ontario, Canada (Lumsden et al. 1986), found that the lining nest boxes with wood shavings significantly increased their use by four duck species, whilst entrance hole size and height above the ground had uncertain effects. All 18 ducks nesting in 100 pairs of nest boxes over two years chose boxes lined with wood shavings over those without. Entrance hole size did not significantly influence box choice by goldeneyes Bucephala clagnula but hooded mergansers Lophodytes cucullatus and wood ducks Aix sponsa used small entrances more (ten and four boxes used, compared with three and zero boxes with large holes), whilst common mergansers Mergus merganser only nested in four boxes with large entrances. Boxes 6 m above the ground were used more often by goldeneyes than those at 4.5 m or 3 m (14 breeding attempts vs. nine and three attempts, 20 sets of boxes in each of eight years) but the authors argue that occupancy rates would not change in the absence of choice.


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