Nesting of dabbling ducks (Anatinae) was studied in fields of no-till winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) in the prairie pothole region of North Dakota during 1984 and 1985. Total area of 59 fields searched in 1984 was 1,135 ha and total area of 70 fields searched in 1985 was 1,175 ha. Field sizes ranged from 3 ha to 110 ha. Nests of five duck species were found: blue-winged teal (Anas discors), 55 nests; northern pintail (A. acuta), 44; mallard (A. platyrhynchos), 29; gadwall (A. strepera), 15; and northern shoveler (A. clypeata), 8. The average number of nests found was 8/100 ha in 1984 and 6/100 ha in 1985. Nest success for all species averaged 26% in 1984 and 29% in 1985. Predation by mammals was the principal cause of nest destruction. No egg or hen mortality could be attributed to pesticide use. Only 6 of 151 nests (4%) were abandoned during the two years. We also found 29 nests of seven other ground-nesting bird species. The trend toward increased planting of no-till winter wheat in the prairie pothole region should benefit production of ducks and other ground-nesting birds.
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Use of no-till winter wheat by nesting ducks in North Dakota