Do Repugnant Scents Increase Survival of Ground Nests? A Test with Artificial and Natural Duck Nests

Vanessa B. Harriman, Justin A. Pitt, Serge Larivière

Abstract


Ground-nesting birds typically experience high predation rates on their nests, often by mammalian predators. As such, researchers and wildlife managers have employed numerous techniques to mitigate nest predation. We investigated the use of scents as repellents to deter predators from both artificial and natural ground nests. Survival rates of artificial nests did not differ among six groups of substances (Wald ?2df = 5 = 4.53, P < 0.48); however the chronology of predation among groups differed. A commercial Coyote urine based deterrent (DEER-D-TERTM), human hair, and Worcestershire sauce were depredated faster than the control (F4,5 = 40.3, P < 0.001). Nest survival of natural nests differed among those groups tested (Wald ?2 df = 2 = 11.8, P < 0.005); the eight mothball treatment decreased survival (Wald ?2 df = 1 = 11.5, P < 0.005), which indicated that novel smells may attract predators or result in duck nest abandonment when coupled with natural duck scent. Chronologies of predation events among treatment groups were not different for natural nests (F2,3 = 1.9, P = 0.22). These findings indicate an interaction between novel scents and predator olfactory cues.

Keywords


Coyote; Canis latrans; urine; human hair; mothballs; napthaldehyde; nest predation; olfactory cues; waterfowl; Manitoba

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v121i2.439



Volumes that are more than six years old are freely available courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

 


Questions or problems with the website? Contact William Halliday (info -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca).