Theses and Dissertations

Advisor

Davis, J. Brian

Committee Member

McConnell, Mark D.

Committee Member

Rush, Scott R.

Date of Degree

5-13-2022

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Major

Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Forest Resources

Department

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Abstract

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.

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