Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Terry A. Messmer
Terry A. Messmer
Nest predation is a major factor impacting duck production and recruitment on breeding areas in North America. I surveyed waterfowl managers employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. state wildlife agencies to determine their beliefs about nest predation and its management. Over 64% of respondents believed that rates of nest success on their management units averaged
Wildlife managers have argued that periodic disturbance of vegetation should be a component of management on waterfowl breeding areas. Although many techniques are available to manipulate vegetation, grazing by domestic livestock has been controversial. Some researchers have reported that livestock grazing is detrimental to nesting ducks whereas others have argued that it can be beneficial. I evaluated the impact of a short-duration, high-intensity winter livestock grazing program on duck nesting at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Following a winter grazing treatment, I measured visual obstruction on both grazed and ungrazed plots during the spring nesting season. Although visual obstruction readings on grazed plots were lower than those on rested sites early in the nesting season, those differences diminished as the season progressed. Winter grazing may impact early-nesting ducks like mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), but not late-nesting species like cinnamon teal (Anas cyanoptera) and gadwall (Anas strepera). In designing grazing programs to manage nesting cover, managers should consider their waterfowl production goals, the composition of breeding duck populations, type of grazing system, and climatic conditions.
West, Benjamin C., "The Influence of Predator Exclosures and Livestock Grazing on Duck Production at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah" (2002). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 4431.
Copyright for this work is retained by the student. If you have any questions regarding the inclusion of this work in the Digital Commons, please email us at .