US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Wildlife Management 42(3):471-476.


Nesting studies are used to assess the production of birds and to evaluate nesting habitats. Most such studies involve finding nests in a given area and subsequently determining the proportion that hatched. Unfortunately, the results are often biased by unrecognized differences in the probabilities of finding successful and unsuccessful nests. The observed hatch rates of 1,900 nests of blue-winged teal (Anas discors) are presented to illustrate the relationship of hatch rates to time remaining until the nests should hatch. The Mayfield method of correcting for these biases is illustrated. Other examples demonstrate the possible effects of sampling procedures on observed hatch rates and nest density.