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Individual study: Effect of lining nest boxes with wood shavings on use by common goldeneye Bucephala clangula and other cavity-nesting ducks at Long and Elk Lakes, Ontario, Canada

Published source details

Lumsden H., Robinson J. & Hartford R. (1986) Choice of nest boxes by cavity-nesting ducks. Wilson Bulletin, 98, 167-168


A selection of experiments in which wooden nest boxes designed for common goldeneyes Bucephala clangula with different features were placed in a lake area in northern Ontario (Canada) were undertaken to assess goldeneye and other cavity-nesting ducks nest box preferences. The experiment summarised here compared the response of four cavity-nesting duck species to the presence of nest material in the nest boxes.

Study area: The study was conducted at Elk (47º44'N, 80º20'W) and Long (47º48'N, 79º59'W) Lakes, Ontario, Canada.

Nest box installation: In 1984, 50 sets of boxes were installed on each lake, with 6-7 cm of wood shavings placed in one box of each pair, leaving the other with a bare wood floor.

Nest box monitoring: It was considered that a box was used if a duck laid one or more eggs in it. If the box was used by two or more females, the box was scored as having been used twice. The boxes were inspected once in late May-early June.

All 18 ducks (10 common goldeneyes, 4 hooded mergansers Lophodytes cucullatus, 2 common mergansers Mergus merganser, and 2 wood ducks Aix sponsa) using the boxes chose the ones with wood shavings. Thus common goldeneye preference for the presence of nest box lining material was especially apparent.

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