Waterfowl Nesting Habitat Enhancement
Loss of secure nesting habitat is a primary limiting factor for mallard, goldeneye and bufflehead populations in areas of Alberta where annual crop production is the predominant land use. Nest tunnels improve nesting success for mallards, and installing nest boxes for goldeneye and bufflehead increases potential nesting sites. Our project encourages landowners and interested conservation groups to install and maintain nest structures and to monitor annual use by waterfowl. We also provide information on waterfowl and their habitat to interested individuals and groups through field trips, presentations, and print and electronic media.
In 2011/12, we encouraged landowners with nest boxes on their properties to assume maintenance responsibility, and in 2014, we negotiated transfer of responsibility for nest tunnel maintenance and volunteers to Delta Waterfowl. We informed all volunteers of this change in reporting. We also provided three replacement nest tunnels to one volunteer and eight new tunnels to three volunteers. Volunteers and ACA staff monitored 38 nest tunnels and found three tunnels unavailable for use due to low water levels. Of the 35 tunnels available for nesting, 21 were used and 19 appeared to have housed successfully hatched ducklings. We also provided eight nest boxes for use on ACA Conservation Sites, and provided four other boxes to volunteer groups. Monitoring reports on 28 nest boxes indicated that 18 were used by target waterfowl, seven were used by other species, and only three were not used. To provide information on waterfowl habitat needs, we hosted a field trip and delivered a presentation on waterfowl nesting habitat, which a total of 44 people attended. While ACA will not be taking an active role in these waterfowl habitat enhancements in the future, we will provide direction to the public wishing to become involved with artificial nest structures. People specifically interested in nest tunnels will be encouraged to contact Delta Waterfowl to participate in its Hen House program.
Alberta Fish & Game Association, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Wildlife Habitat Canada, Windsor Plywood
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