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Concentrated nesting of mallards and gadwalls on Miller Lake Island, North Dakota

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Island-nesting mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and gadwalls (A. strepera) were studied on a 4.5-ha island in 385-ha Miller Lake in northwestern North Dakota during 1976-80. During the 5-year study, 2,561 duck nests of 9 species were found on Island A located 180 m offshore; 59% were mallard and 34% were gadwall. In patches of shrub cover, which contained the greatest concentrations of nests, densities ranged from 241 to 389 mallard nests/ha and from 139 to 237 gadwall nests/ha. Over 97% of the nests were placed in 4 patches of shrubs totaling about 1 ha of western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis)--Woods rose (Rosa woodsii) cover, which composed about 30% of the island's vegetation. Average hatching success was 85% for clutches of all species. Abandonment averaged 14% (348 of 2,426 nests) and was the major cause of egg failure. Only 15 nests (<1%) were destroyed, primarily by ring-billed (Larus delawarensis) or California gulls (L. californicus). A minimum of 15,960 ducklings including 9,300 mallards and 5,150 gadwalls hatched on 4.5-ha Island A. Hatching rates of eggs in successful nests averaged 83% for mallards and 87% for gadwalls. Despite the close spacing of nests, most individual hens maintained normal nesting regimes. Eighty-one percent of the mallard clutches contained 7-13 eggs and 81% of the gadwall clutches contained 8-14 eggs. Island A in Miller Lake provides an outstanding example of the potential for high reproduction levels of mallards and gadwalls nesting in small areas of predator-free habitats.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Concentrated nesting of mallards and gadwalls on Miller Lake Island, North Dakota
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 47
Issue 3
Year Published 1983
Language English
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 729
Last page 740