Master of Science (MS)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



Nest success of upland nesting ducks is the primary driver of duck population growth in the Prairie Pothole Region. Nest success is greatly influenced by nest predation and the amount of available nesting cover on the landscape. The decline in acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in this region has negatively impacted the amount of available nesting cover, making nesting cover sparse and confined to small patches where predation rates are potentially elevated. I evaluated the efficacy of seasonal predator reduction on increasing nest success on low-grassland density (>10% grassland cover), 93 km2 landscapes in two different habitat types used by nesting birds, large fields and roadside ditches. Ditches were sampled because they are a major cover source in low-grassland density landscapes. I monitored 1,899 nests during the 2010-2012 breeding seasons. Predator reduction had a significant influence in large fields as nest success was 1.6 times greater in large fields on trapped sites (44% nest success) than on control sites (27% nest success). Predator reduction, however, did not significantly increase nest success in roadside ditches (13% nest success on trapped sites, 12% nest success on control sites). A large majority of monitored nests were located in large fields resulting in the overall effect of predator reduction significantly increasing nest success by 13%. These results indicate that predator reduction is an effective intensive management technique in low-grassland density landscapes and can be used as a management tool in a post-CRP era. Future research should evaluate different trapping techniques in efforts to increase nest success in the roadside ditches.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rohwer, Frank C