Predator Reduction and Habitat Influences: Impacts on Upland Duck Nest Success in Alberta Parklands

More than any other life stage, the hatching of eggs is the most important factor in the maintenance of dabbling duck populations. Rates of nest success are suppressed by predators like foxes, coyotes, skunks, and crows. Populations of these predators can be artificially high due to habitat alterations resulting from human development. The Delta Waterfowl Foundation proposes lethal trapping to reduce nest predation in Alberta parkland habitats. However, predator reduction programs can direct limited resources away from habitat-based alternatives, and are controversial. This project will evaluate the need for and efficacy of predator reduction. We will also investigate which habitat characteristics are associated with particularly high nest predation risk, attempting to improve non-invasive management options. In the 2017 nesting season, we will search trapped and non-trapped plots for duck nests, monitoring for nest success. TO BE CONT'D

Emily Blythe
Faculty Supervisor: 
Mark Boyce
Partner University: