Theses and Dissertations


Davis, J. Brian

Committee Member

McConnell, Mark D.

Committee Member

Rush, Scott R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Man-made nest boxes are surrogate nest sites widely used by waterfowl managers in North America to propagate free-ranging Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) and other cavity-nesting waterfowl. I monitored 129 and 174 nest boxes in 2020 and 2021, respectively, at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and York Woods, Mississippi. I evaluated site-specific biotic and abiotic factors that were potentially influential on nest survival of Wood Ducks and general nesting ecology and apparent nest success of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) and Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus). Daily survival rate of Wood Ducks was negatively influenced by increasing encroaching vegetation at Noxubee NWR and varied by year at York Woods. Across both sites and years, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Hooded Merganser nest success averaged 59% and 77%, respectively. I also evaluated eggshell breaking strength (EBS) between all three species, where EBS was highest in Hooded Mergansers, followed by Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Wood Ducks.