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Individual study: Effect of the height at which nest boxes were placed on uptake by common goldeneye Bucephala clangula at Mattagami and Muskego Rivers, 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 goldeneye Bucephala clangula with different features were placed in a lake area in northern Ontario (Canada) were undertaken to assess goldeneye nest box preferences. The experiment summarised here compared the response of common goldeneye to nest boxes placed at three different heights on the same tree.

Study area: The study was conducted at Mattagami and Muskego Rivers (49º17'N, 81º38'W) in Ontario, Canada.

Nest box installation: Between 1977 and 1984, along the river banks, preferences for boxes placed on the same tree at 3, 4.5, and 6 m above the ground were tested. An average of 20 sets of boxes was available each year, all were lined with loose wood chips and had an entrance of 13 × 10 cm.

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.

In the Mattagami and Muskego Rivers, common goldeneyes chose the 3 m boxes three times, the 4.5 m boxes nine times, and the 6 m boxes 14 times. Although common goldeneyes chose the highest boxes more frequently than the others, the authors consider that the rate of occupancy would probably not change in the absence of choice.

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