2014 Kodiak Island Cooperative Goldeneye Nest Box Project

Zwiefelhofer, Denny
Crye, John
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
USFWS -Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Alaska
U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command
Lesnoi Corporation
Koniag Corporation
Publication Date: 

During the period 26 May to 6 Aug, 2014, nest boxes placed on seven different lakes along the Kodiak road system and Karluk Lake on the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge were checked by the author(s). Two new road system nest boxes were added in 2014. One was added to Buskin Lake on 5 Feb, and another box placed on Aurel Lake 1 April. Both lakes were still ice covered. The added boxes increased the total number of Project boxes available in 2014 to 47 nest boxes.
Occupancy rate of available project nest boxes used by Barrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) hen was 34% (16 of 47 boxes) in 2014, down from 40% in 2013 and 35% in 2012 but nearly double of 2011 box occupancy rate of 19%. A project first was reached when another cavity nesting waterfowl species, a common merganser (Mergus merganser), used a project nest box, increasing the 2014 total box occupancy rated to 36%. Neither newly added nest boxes on Buskin and Aurel Lakes nor a Kalsin Pond box moved in early January were used during the 2014 nesting season.
The estimated 2014 average clutch size of 7.2 eggs for the 16 goldeneye occupied boxes was down slightly from the 2013 average of 7.3 eggs, but still higher than the estimated clutch averages of 5.7 and 6.1 eggs in 2012 and 2011, respectively. However, an abnormally large number of unhatched eggs were found in the 2014 nest box clutches with 4 boxes containing only unhatched eggs resulting in a dismal estimated 2014 hatching success of only 63%.
Capture and banding of project box hens was continued in 2014, as new hens were captured and banded at boxes LL-1 and CL-1. A Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge volunteer fishing at Lee Lake on 28 June found a duck leg with a band in the water from a hen captured at box OL-2 in June, 2012.
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.

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