Title page for ETD etd-0502102-131203

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hoover, Andrea Kim
Author's Email Address ahoove1@lsu.edu
URN etd-0502102-131203
Title Patterns of Female Nest Attendance in Northern Pintails and Mallards
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Frank C. Rohwer Committee Chair
Jay Geaghan Committee Member
Michael Chamberlain Committee Member
  • mallards
  • incubation
  • waterfowl
  • temperature sensing technique
  • nest attendance
  • nest site cover
  • pintails
Date of Defense 2002-04-26
Availability unrestricted
I examined the accuracy of using data collected by temperature sensing dummy eggs (hollow and switch) to determine female nest attendance in waterfowl. I monitored 3 northern pintails (Anas acuta) and 6 mallards (A. platyrhynchos) using closed circuit video recording. Differences in the time spent on the nest for an 8-hour recording period between dummy eggs and camera were similar between type (hollow and switch eggs, P = 0.93), species (P = 0.07), and date (P = 0.42). My results show that temperature data from hollow and switch eggs are an effective and accurate method to monitor female nest attendance for prairie-nesting waterfowl.

I investigated the effects of nest site cover and nest site temperatures on the patterns of female nest attendance in pintails and mallards. I monitored nest attendance of 82 pintails (1094 days) and 94 mallards (761 days) in North Dakota in 2000-2001 using temperature sensing dummy eggs in nest bowls. Time spent on the nest per day (constancy) was lower for pintails (81.6 0.31%) than mallards (83.2 0.46%; P = 0.03), and pintails took more recesses per day (2.64 1.07) than mallards (1.77 1.07, P < 0.001). For early nesting pintails and mallards, constancy decreased with increasing nest site cover (lateral concealment) and increased slightly for late nesting females (P < 0.01). However, experimentally adding or removing nest site cover at mallard nests did not affect constancy (P = 0.13). For both species, females spent more time on the nest late in incubation when it rained than when it did not rain (P = 0.02). Pintails spread their incubation recesses more evenly over the daylight period than mallards, which concentrated their recesses in the evening (P < 0.001). Maintaining a higher constancy resulted in a shorter incubation period for pintails (P < 0.01) but not for mallards (P = 0.59). My results suggest that other factors such as body size and condition, or trade-offs between female condition and the risk of predation may influence female nest attendance in pintails and mallards to a greater extent than nest site cover.

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