During the period 12 May to 20 Sept, 2015, nest boxes located at eight different lakes on the Kodiak road system and Karluk Lake on the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge were checked by the author(s). Three of the original 8 Buskin Lake boxes were moved to new locations on Buskin Lake in 2015. Also another new road system nest box was added at Nyman Lake, located on the U.S. Coast Guard base in 2015. However, Lake Rose Tead nest box, RT-1, was taken down, keeping the total number of Project boxes available in 2015 at 47.
Occupancy rate of available project nest boxes used by Barrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) hens was 38% (18 of 47 boxes) in 2015, up from 34% in 2014, though down from the 40% in 2013, But this was still an increase from the 35% in 2012 and double the 2011 box occupancy rate of 19%. None of the 3 moved boxes on Buskin Lake, or the twice moved KP-1 box on Kalsin Pond, nor newly added Nyman Lake nest box were used during the 2015 nesting season.
The 2015 estimated average clutch size of 6.8 eggs (range 2-14) from the 18 occupied project goldeneye boxes was down from the 2014 and 2013 clutch averages of 7.2 and 7.3 eggs, but still higher than the estimated clutch averages of 5.7 and 6.1 eggs found in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Similar to 2014, a large number of unhatched eggs were found in 2015. But only 2 nest boxes contained clutches comprised of only unhatched eggs in 2015 as compared to 4 boxes in 2014. The depressed 76% estimated hatching success in 2015 and dismal 2014 estimated hatching success of 62% are both substantially below the early Project average estimated hatching success of 92% over the previous 3 years.
Capture and banding of goldeneye hens using Project nest boxes was continued in 2015 with the first Barrow's goldeneye hen using box AL-1 on Aurel Lake banded on 18 June.
The Kodiak nest box project was initiated in the spring of 2010 in an attempt to provide additional goldeneye nesting habitat and collect basic nesting ecology information. To date, over 400 Barrow's goldeneye young have been hatched from project nest boxes.