Nesting habitat use and availability for cavity-nesting ducks in the lower Wolastoq (Saint John) River floodplain, New Brunswick

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University of New Brunswick


This study examined the impact of a Ducks Unlimited Canada nest box program to guide current and future management for cavity-nesting waterfowl in New Brunswick, including common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), and wood duck (Aix sponsa). Natural cavity searches identified no cavities occupied by cavity-nesting ducks. Logistic regression mixed effect models, created to identify habitat variables affecting nest box use by common goldeneyes and wood ducks, did not identify any significant effects but did suggest that low levels of human presence do not deter nest box use. Population viability analyses (PVAs) were conducted to determine the effect of varying amounts of nest site availability on these populations and found it unlikely that nest site availability represents a limiting factor. Furthermore, the result of 0% extinction across all base models suggests that even a population dependent entirely upon the approximately 2000 nest boxes within the Wolastoq floodplain should be sustainable.