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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Horizontal nest boxes with large entrances discourage starling occupation but are acceptable to wood ducks

Published source details

McGilvrey F.B. & Uhler F.M. (1971) A Starling-Deterrent Wood Duck Nest Box. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 35, 793-797


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide artificial nesting sites for wildfowl Bird Conservation

A small replicated, controlled study from 1963-1970 in 15 sites of marshy or wooded duck habitat in Maryland, USA (McGilvrey & Uhler 1971) found that wood ducks Aix sponsa had no significant preference for next box design but that common starlings Sturna vulgaris avoided horizontal nest boxes with large entrances. Starlings showed greater preference for vertical boxes with small entrances (3 x 4 inches) and avoided horizontal boxes with large entrances (semicircular, 11 inches in diameter). In 1965, when all vertical boxes were removed and all horizontal boxes had larger openings, there was an abrupt decrease in starling nest box use, despite no change in the starling population size. Starlings preferred boxes in open sites than those in wooded sites, whereas wood ducks showed no preference. The basic experimental nest box was a horizontal cylinder (24 inches long and 12 inches in diameter) made of metal or wire netting covered with roofing paper and had wooden ends.