Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are secondary cavity nesters that use natural cavities and artificial nest boxes, the latter of which has been attributed to the recovery of populations across the southeastern US. Continual use of these boxes results in a buildup of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. To avoid the accumulation of these deleterious organisms, best management practices include the occasional removal of old nesting material (i.e., wood shavings) and replacement with fresh wood shavings. No studies have been performed on the effects of shaving material on nest box selection, nest success, and bacterial growth. We monitored 142 and 111 nest boxes in Florida and Georgia, USA, respectively, and filled a random sample with aspen or cedar shavings. We then swabbed the surface of 144 and 150 eggs during 2020 and 2021, respectively, to screen for culturable bacteria. We detected no effect of shaving type on nest box selection, nest success, or egg surface bacterial growth. We found 3–8 bacterial colony types (1–123 colony-forming units [CFU]/box) and 1–8 bacterial colony types (3–382 CFU/box) among the Georgia and Florida samples, respectively. We detected no effect from shaving type on Wood Duck reproduction or bacterial growth in the sampled nest boxes. We concluded that both shaving types are suitable nesting materials for box-nesting Wood Duck populations and the continued use of either would be a reasonable decision for managers.

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