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Differential Effects of Coyotes and Red Foxes on Duck Nest Success

Marsha A. Sovada, Alan B. Sargeant and James W. Grier
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 1-9
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809108
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809108
Page Count: 9
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Differential Effects of Coyotes and Red Foxes on Duck Nest Success
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Abstract

Low recruitment rates prevail among ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America, primarily because of high nest depredation rates. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a major predator of duck eggs, but fox abundance is depressed by coyotes (Canis latrans). We tested the hypothesis that nest success of upland-nesting ducks is higher in areas with coyotes than in areas with red foxes. We conducted the study during 1990-92 in uplands of 36 areas managed for nesting ducks in North Dakota and South Dakota. Overall nest success averaged 32% (95% CI = 25-40) on 17 study areas where coyotes were the principal canid and 17% (CI = 11-25) on 13 study areas where red foxes were the principal canid (P = 0.01). Both canids were common on 6 other areas, where nest success averaged 25% (CI = 13-47). Habitat composition, predator communities with the exception of canids, and species composition of duck nests in coyote and red fox areas were similar overall. Upon examining only nest with ≥6 eggs on the last visit prior to hatch or depredation, we determined nests with evidence characteristic of fox predation accounted for 4% of depredated nests in coyote areas and 27% in fox areas (P = 0.001). An expanding coyote population is contributing to higher overall nest success. Management of coyotes may be an effective method for increasing duck nest success.

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