Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 24–26, Spring 2007. Published and copyright by the Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


Nest predation often is cited as a primary cause for low recruitment and subsequent population decline of many ground-nesting bird species. In response, managers and researchers have developed a myriad of techniques to reduce rates of predation on ground nests. Fences to exclude predators from nesting areas have reportedly been a successful, albeit expensive, strategy to reduce predation rates. Although many studies have evaluated the use of exclusionary fences as a management tool, nearly all of these studies have evaluated the impact of fences in terms of nest success rather than by actual fence penetration by predators. Many authors, for example, assumed that particular fence designs would repel meso-predators like red fox. During a study to assess fences as a management tool to manage predation on duck nests, we documented that red foxes routinely penetrated fences that were designed based on recommendations in the literature. Our observations call into question many fence design recommendations, particularly in areas with red fox populations. More research is needed to assess the ability of various fence designs to repel specific predators.