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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Wood Duck Nest Box Monitoring Program Wood Duck Nest Box Monitoring Program

Fish and Wildlife Research and Management Notes
Author: Kristen D. Chodachek, Waterfowl Research Biologist
Date: October 22, 2003  
Title: Wood Duck Nest Box Monitoring Program

Abstract: Wood duck box checks were conducted during summer 2002 and winter 2003. However, due to the absence of the waterfowl biologist no report is available. A report for the 2002 nesting season will be available for the next reporting cycle. Future data analyses should include determination of nest success for different box types and placement.

HISTORY

Currently, the wood duck is considered to be increasing across its range and has ranked second in the Mississippi Flyway duck harvest during most of the past 25 years. Despite this, reliable estimates of population size have been lacking in the past, largely due to the secretive nature and difficulty of surveying wood ducks. In an effort to better manage wood ducks, the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service produced the Wood Duck Initiative, which standardizes population monitoring methods through tracking wood duck use of man-made nesting boxes.

METHODS

Property managers and other personnel from Tri-County, Hovey Lake, Pigeon river, Jasper-Pulaski, Winamac and Willow Slough state fish and wildlife areas (FWA) agreed to participate in the wood duck monitoring program. A detailed inventory of all wood duck boxes at the aforementioned areas was taken according to the methods described by Kelley (1997). Boxes were to be checked once during the winter at Pigeon River, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski and Willow Slough FWA while Tri-County and Winamac FWA were to conduct box checks more intensively during the spring breeding season. During box checks, the fate of nests, if any, was determined, including an estimate of the number of ducklings produced. A database of this inventory is maintained by the waterfowl biologist and will be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when appropriate.

RESULTS

Wood duck box checks were conducted during summer 2002 and winter 2003. However, the waterfowl biologist had not received all data at the time of this report. Data for 2002 nesting season will be analysed and included in the next reporting cycle.

DISCUSSION

Currently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not accepting these data but requests that data continue to be collected, held and sent at a later date when requested. Further data analyses should include determination of nest success for different box types and placement. This information will provide management implications for the continued use of artificial nest structures for wood ducks.

These management and research notes are issued periodically to provide a quick source of information on wildlife surveys and investigations, and various wildlife programs prior to more formal reports. Any information provided is subject to further analysis and therefore is not for publications without permission.