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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Frequency of 'dump nesting' by wood duck Aix sponsa is affected by nest box placement, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, Illinois, USA

Published source details

Semel B., Sherman P.W. & Byers S.M. (1988) Effects of brood parasitism and nest-box placement on wood duck breeding ecology. The Condor, 90, 920-930


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Provide artificial nesting sites for wildfowl Bird Conservation

A replicated study over 12 years between 1976 and 1987 in deciduous woodlands and wetlands in northeast Illinois, USA (Semel et al. 1988) found that successful wood duck Aix sponsa clutches in well-hidden nest boxes had significantly higher hatching success than those in conspicuous boxes (82% hatching success for 28 successful well-hidden nests vs. 74% for 150 successful conspicuous nests), probably due to lower levels of intraspecific brood parasitism (30% of 47 hidden clutches parasitized vs. 50% for 198 conspicuous ones). However, visible nests were more likely to raise at least one duckling (60% of 47 hidden nests successful vs. 76% of 198 conspicuous nests), and hatched more ducklings (7.1 ducklings/successful nest for hidden nests vs. 9.3-9.9 ducklings/nest for conspicuous nests) possibly due to larger clutch sizes caused by brood parasitism (12.4 eggs/clutch for hidden nests vs. 15.7-16.3 eggs/clutch for conspicuous nests).