Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) nest use of dense nesting cover (DNC) established under the Pheasant Restoration Program was evaluated in Beadle, Codington, Tripp, and Walworth Counties in South Dakota from 1978 to 1981. Nest densities and success in DNC plots were compared to those found in roadsides and privately owned alfalfa (Medicago sativa) fields, pastures, and small grain fields. Vegetation density and cover development were monitored on DNC plots. Nest densities were generally greatest in DNC plots followed by roadsides and alfalfa fields. Pastures and small grain fields contained the lowest nest densities. No relationship was detected between nest success and landuse. Overall nest success was 33.9%. Depredation by mammalian predators was the greatest cause for nest failure in all landuses and study areas. No relationship was detected between nest density or success and vegetation density in DNC plots. Species composition of DNC areas followed a successional pattern. Sweet clover (Melilotus spp.) tended to dominate DNC plots at age 2 years while alfalfa and finally wheatgrasses (Agropyron spp.) dominated DNC plots at age 5. Although DNC plots provided secure pheasant nesting habitat and harbored high nest densities, depredation of nests by mammalian predators appeared to offset major gains in nest success on these plots.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pheasants -- Effect of habitat modificaiton on
Pheasants -- Habitat
Pheasants -- Nesting
Ring-necked pheasant


Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-40)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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