Duck nesting was studied during 1971 in north-central South Dakota under four conditions: in idle, five or six year old fields of domestic grass-legume mixtures in an area where predators including the red fox (Vulpes fulva), raccoon (Procyon lotor), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and badger (Taxidea taxus) were (1) reduced and (2) not reduced. Nesting was also studied in tracts of active agricultural land (primarily croplands and pastures) where predators were (3) reduced, and (4) not reduced. Under condition (1), 260 nests were found on 0.87 km2 (299 nests/km2), eggs hatched in 92 percent of the nests and production was 22.0 ducklings/hectare. Under condition (2), 187 nests were found on 2.22 km2 (84 nests/km2), nest success was 68 percent and 4.7 ducklings/hectare were produced. On active agricultural land subject to predator reduction (condition 3), 64 nests were found on 5.14 km2 (12 nests/km2). Eggs in 85 percent of the nests hatched and production was 0.7 duckling/hectare. On active agricultural land not subject to predator reduction (condition 4), 58 nests were found on 4.01 km2 (14 nests/km2), nest success was 51 percent and 0.5 duckling/hectare was produced. Idle, 16 to 65-hectare (40 to 160-acre) stands of cool-season, introduced grasses in combination with legumes produced maximum numbers of upland nesting ducks.
Additional publication details
Upland duck nesting related to land use and predator reduction