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A study was conducted on the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge in east-central North Dakota to further evaluate a technique for establishing nesting wood ducks (Aix sponsa) by releasing propagated birds and installing nest houses. No wood duck nesting had been recorded previously in the area. During May-July 1968, 253 ducklings, hand-reared at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center near Jamestown, North Dakota, were released when 9 to 16 days old into a 0.5-acre enclosure on the refuge, where they grew to flight stage and departed. Seventy-eight nest houses were installed in August on the refuge. About 76 percent of the ducks survived until late September, when southward migration began. The first-year band recovery rate by hunters of 4.7 percent was comparable to that of wild immature wood ducks. Most recoveries occurred between North Dakota and Minnesota in the north and Texas and Louisiana in the south. There were 16 nesting attempts, which produced 175 ducklings, by homing female wood ducks in the boxes in 1969. The number of nesting attempts increased to 34 in 1970, with a production of 311 ducklings.
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Techniques for establishing local breeding populations of wood ducks