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A study to determine the major factors limiting duck nesting and production on intensively farmed areas in eastern North Dakota was conducted from 1969 through 1974. A total of 186 duck nests was found during searches on 6,018 ha of upland. Nest density per km2 for 5 major habitat types was 20.2 in untilled upland, 3.7 in standing grain stubble, 1.6 in mulched grain stubble, 1.2 in summer fallow, and 1.1 in growing grain. Pintails (Anas acuta) nested in cultivated cropland types in greater prevalence than other duck species. Nest densities were 12 times greater on untilled upland (20.2/km2) than on annually tilled cropland (1.7/km2), and hatched-clutch densities were 16 times greater on untilled upland (4.8/km2) than on annually tilled cropland (0.3/km2). Hatching success was greater on untilled upland (25%) than on tilled cropland (17%). Of 186 nests found, 77 percent did not hatch; 76 percent of the failures were attributed to predators and 19 percent to farming operations. Poor quality nesting cover, the result of intensive land use practices, and nesting failures caused by machinery and predators mainly mammals, were the principal factors limiting duck nesting and production on intensively farmed areas.
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Duck nesting in intensively farmed areas of North Dakota