Evaluating the impact of hen house nesting structures on the genetics and ecology of great lakes mallard populations

Backed by Robert Lance and David Lang
Raised of $4,000 Goal
Ended on 4/25/24
Campaign Ended
  • $510
  • 13%
  • Finished
    on 4/25/24



Hen House Design-build and Installations

Our research methodology encompasses the comprehensive design and construction of mallard hen house nesting structures tailored for deployment across diverse landscapes in Northeast Ohio, encompassing both private and public lands. These crafted nesting structures feature tubes comprised of rolled caging, meticulously lined with hay, and nestled within welded cradles mounted onto stainless tubing frames. This meticulous design ensures the comfort and safety of mallard hens during nesting, fostering a conducive environment for successful breeding. Through strategic placement across various habitats, our research aims to observe and analyze mallard hen nesting behaviors, contributing valuable insights into avian ecology and conservation efforts within the region.

Nest Monitoring and Observations

Our research methodology integrates advanced GIS mapping techniques, utilizing submeter GPS devices for precise mapping of mallard hen house locations within ESRI's ArcGIS Online suite. This enables accurate spatial representation of our nesting structures across Northeast Ohio's landscapes. Concurrently, our research entails weekly evaluations of the hen houses, involving the observation of birds in the vicinity with meticulous identification, as well as thorough assessments of the nests themselves. These evaluations are complemented by the collection of habitat data, water data, and various observation metrics through detailed field sheets, facilitating comprehensive data acquisition for further interpretation. By scrutinizing these data sets, we aim to discern patterns and preferences exhibited by the birds in relation to nesting habitats and structures. Additionally, we employ thermal drone technology to identify upland and natural nesting areas, providing a comparative framework for evaluating the effectiveness of our artificial nesting structures. This holistic approach facilitates a nuanced understanding of mallard hen nesting behaviors and preferences, informing conservation strategies and habitat management practices within the region.

Brood Monitoring and Observations

Our research methodology incorporates the innovative use of thermal drone technologies to track and identify successful broods of ducklings following the hatching of clutches, enabling a comparative analysis of duckling survivability originating from different nests. By employing thermal imaging, we can effectively monitor the movement patterns of ducklings, providing valuable insights into their behaviors and habitat utilization post-hatch. This data not only enhances our understanding of brood dynamics but also serves as a precursor to trapping season, facilitating the collection of crucial biological data. Through this integrated approach, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of mallard hen nesting success and duckling survival rates, ultimately informing targeted conservation strategies and wildlife management efforts in Northeast Ohio.

Biological Sampling

Our research methodology integrates the use of baited swim-in traps and fishing nets for live capture of birds, allowing for efficient handling and acquisition of accurate morphological measurements. These capture methods facilitate the placement of leg bands and the collection of blood samples for DNA analysis. This comprehensive genetic analysis enables the identification of potential feral game farm mallard hybridization and offers insights into the genetic composition of birds utilizing artificial nesting structures. By employing these techniques, we aim to better understand the population dynamics and genetic diversity of mallard hens in Northeast Ohio, informing conservation efforts and management strategies tailored to preserving the integrity of wild mallard populations.


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