Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Changes in pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) nesting habitat were investigated on Windsor Township, Brookings County, South Dakota. The population was censused, nesting densities determined, cover was mapped, and an interspersion index determined in 197 7 and 1978. Comparison to a similar study conducted in 1958 and 1959 indicated a decrease in pheasant numbers of 93% for crow counts and 94% in brood counts. Nesting densities decreased by 96%. Pheasant nests were found in about the same proportions per cover type for the two time periods. Hatching success, clutch size, rates of abandonment, and nest destruction were also similar. Nesting habitat occurred on 70% of the study area in 1958, 62% in 1959, 74% in 197 7, and 66% in 1978. The mean field size was 6.7 ha in 1958, 6.9 ha in 1959, 10.2 ha in 197 7, and 8.0 ha in 1978. The interspersion index decreased by 4% from 1958-59 to 197 7-78. Although land use changes have resulted in reduction of habitat in twenty years the amount of habitat reduction does not compare to the reduction in pheasant numbers. Factors such as cover quality, which could not be measured quantitatively, may be more responsible for decreasing the pheasant population in eastern South Dakota than cover quantity.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Birds -- South Dakota
Land use, Rural -- South Dakota -- Environmental aspects
Ring-necked pheasant


Includes bibliographical references (pages 24-26)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only