E. Nell Brady

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Raymond L. Linder


To examine the role of bird species (other than Anatidae) in the prairie wetlands ecosystem. Seven wetlands on Waterfowl Production Areas in eastern South Dakota were utilized to measure differences between bird communities in plots with dug brood complexes and non-modified plots. Thirty-eight species of wetland birds were recorded on wetlands during June 1981 and June 1982. The most abundant species included the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris), and song sparrow (Melospiza melodia). Analysis of variance was used to test between treatment (modified and natural plots on the wetlands) differences for the dependent variables: density, bird species diversity, species richness, and equitability. No significant differences were found between treatments for any of the dependent variables. For 1981-1982, 5 years after excavation of dug brood complexes, the effects of these modifications on wetland bird communities appeared negligible. However, upland cover on the islands of the dug brood complexes provided nesting habitat for some upland nesting species and a possible food source for other upland and marsh-edge species.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Prairie ecology
Birds -- Habitat -- South Dakota
Wetland ecology -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 28-32)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University