DU Alaska volunteers raise money to update goldeneye nest boxes

Recently, the Anchorage Spring BBQ chapter allocated funds they raised through Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Auction Tag program, commonly known as Conservation or Governor’s Tags in many states, to purchase rough cut spruce and other building materials to replace over 50 nest boxes that have been taking part in a waterfowl study the last 20 years.

From 1993 to 1995, Ducks Unlimited provided funds to University of Alaska Fairbanks undergraduate students majoring in wildlife biology to construct and install 150 common goldeneye nest boxes along sloughs, oxbows, ponds and lakes associated with the Chena River, east of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The boxes were originally monitored for occupancy and nest success from 1997 through 2004, 2008 to 2013, and again in 2016 under the direction of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if a common goldeneye local population would use the boxes in their most northern part of the breeding range and if nest boxes would result in in population growth.  Specific objectives assessed aspects of nest box occupancy, nest initiation, egg laying rate, clutch size, clutch volume, frequency and intensity of extra eggs or dump nesting, incubation length, productivity, recruitment, and survival.

Tags auctioned through Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Auction Tag program have a less than a one percent chance of being drawn thru the regular process. When available, they receive attention from hunters all over the United States as well as international bidders. The proceeds then provide a valuable benefit to further the conservation efforts of Ducks Unlimited that normally would not be available.