Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Duck's boon might be a turtle's bane: Overturned duck nest boxes can be death traps for turtles

Date:
November 3, 2011
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Biologists have discovered that overturned duck nest boxes can be death traps for wetland turtles. Ordinarily a good thing, duck nest boxes -- a nesting box attached to a pole in the wetland ground -- are often erected in wetlands to provide nest sites for cavity-nesting ducks such as wood ducks and hooded mergansers. However, improper care of these boxes can have devastating effects on wetland turtles.

Dead turtles removed from downed duck nest box in dried up pool at Shaker Trace Wetlands.
Credit: Denis Conover and Karen Cody

Duck nest boxes used to aid cavity-nesting ducks can prove to be turtle death traps. That was the discovery made by University of Cincinnati Educator Associate Professor Denis Conover, of the Department of Biological Sciences in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, when he came upon a duck nest box in the wetlands of southern Ohio's Miami Whitewater Forest. The box had tipped over. Turtle corpses were strewn about the mud and mire surrounding the fallen nesting box. Several species of turtles had been trapped by the box, and not all of them made it out alive.

Related Articles


Conover's concern for the turtles' welfare led him and co-authors Wayne Wauligman and Karen Cody, a naturalist, to write "Tipped Over Duck Nest Box Traps Turtles in a Restored Wetland (Ohio)," to raise awareness about the problem of improperly maintained and monitored duck nest boxes. A slide presentation of the research will be displayed at the Kansas Herpetological Society's (KHS) annual meeting in Wichita, Kansas, Nov. 4-6, 2011.

Ordinarily a good thing, duck nest boxes -- a nesting box attached to a pole in the wetland ground -- are often erected in wetlands to provide nest sites for cavity-nesting ducks such as wood ducks and hooded mergansers. In fact, duck nest boxes have been put up in many wetlands throughout the United States and Canada and have helped with increasing wood duck populations.

However, improper care of these boxes can have devastating effects on wetland turtles. Conover writes that "if a pole gets tipped over and the box gets into the water, these duck nest boxes can serve as death traps for turtles."

In Conover's case, the three species of trapped turtles -- painted, snapping and box -- are not endangered in Ohio. Still, other wetlands, such as the Beaver Creek Wetlands, Spring Valley Wildlife Area, and Cedar Bog, may harbor species like the spotted turtle which are much rarer. Such species may also be affected by overturned duck nest boxes.

Duck nest boxes are typically monitored and maintained during the winter or just before the breeding season, but Conover suggests that it "should probably be done more frequently." Periodically checking on duck nest boxes throughout the year can help reduce the dangerous and sometimes fatal consequences overturned boxes can have on turtles.

"Our goal is to reduce suffering and death of turtles by warning land managers about the threat to turtles that downed duck nest boxes can pose."

Conover recently finished an article titled, "Keystone Role of Beavers in a Restored Wetland (Ohio)," and has also published articles on control of Amur honeysuckle, deer management, woodland, wetland and prairie restoration, earlier flowering of wetland prairie plants associated with global warming, seed germination, plant/water relations, and ecological physiology of freshwater clams.

Over the years Conover has conducted many botanical surveys for various park districts and conservation groups such as Oxbow, Inc. and the Bergamo Center at Mount Saint John Nature Preserve. He is currently doing a vascular plant survey at Campbell Lakes Preserve for the Hamilton County Park District.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. The original article was written by Ryan Varney. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Duck's boon might be a turtle's bane: Overturned duck nest boxes can be death traps for turtles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120457.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2011, November 3). Duck's boon might be a turtle's bane: Overturned duck nest boxes can be death traps for turtles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120457.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Duck's boon might be a turtle's bane: Overturned duck nest boxes can be death traps for turtles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103120457.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins