• Alberta;
  • ducks;
  • edge effects;
  • field size;
  • grazing;
  • mixed-grass prairie;
  • nesting success;
  • songbirds;
  • surrogate species;
  • umbrella species

ABSTRACT  Habitat management for ducks has significantly influenced prairies and wetlands used by other species. However, the effects of management on other species have not been clearly assessed. We present the first study to compare the nesting success of ducks with the productivity of coexisting passerines. We evaluated effects of cattle grazing, subdivision of fields, habitat edges, year, and vegetation structure on duck and songbird nesting success in 32 mixed-grass prairie fields in southern Alberta, Canada. Duck and songbird nesting success were not correlated. Duck nesting success was influenced by timing of grazing and vegetation structure, and tended to be higher in wetter years, whereas nesting success of most songbirds was not influenced by vegetation structure or grazing, and was sometimes higher in drier years. Local habitat management for ducks cannot be assumed to benefit songbirds. However, some management strategies, such as those that promote tall grass and short litter, might benefit both taxa.