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Researchers Enhance Nesting Efficiency for Wood Ducks


Cara J

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Studying ducklings paddling happily in a lake might sound like a relaxing endeavor, but that isn’t always the case. A hungry heron or a viscous cottonmouth, with a craving for duck, could appear out of nowhere and disturb the peace — and the research. Brian Davis, assistant professor at Mississippi State University and TWS member, is all too familiar with these sorts of interruptions. Once, while researching the effects of artificial nesting structures and reproductive data on the recruitment of wood ducks (Aix sponsa), Davis watched as a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) took off with one of his radio-marked ducks in its talons, while, in another instance, a great blue heron consumed 10 of his 46 radio-marked ducks in the first year of his study at Mississippi’s Noxubee Wildlife Refuge. “It must have been stabbing them in the wetlands and bringing them back to its nest,” Davis said. “They would then regurgitate the radios back into the water.” But through all of these intense encounters, Davis and his team were able to conduct their study, recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, and come up with some important conclusions on wood duck survival, which could help with their conservation. [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/researchers-enhance-nesting-efficiency-for-wood-ducks/

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