Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake

Second Advisor

Charles G. Scalet


Use of stock watering ponds by indicated breeding pairs of waterfowl was measured in the western two-thirds of South Dakota from 1973 to 1976. Multiple regression and discriminant analyses were used to describe the habitat associated with pairs of each species. Habitat variables explained 35-47 percent of the variation in pairs having small home ranges and 26-35 percent of the variation in pairs having large home ranges. Shoreline distance account for more variation in mallard (Anas Platyrhmchos) and blue-winged teal (A. discors) pairs than any other single variable. Ponds used by these pairs and shoreline distances that averaged 590 m which was significantly (P<0.005) greater than the mean shoreline distances of ponds not used (X=270 m). Numbers of blue-winged teal and pintail (A. acuta) pairs increased proportionately with increased shoreline irregularity. Pairs of all species except the American wigeon (A. americana) were observed on ponds with significantly (P<0.005) larger mean surface water area than he mean surface area of ponds where pairs were not observed. Pond basin area accounted for more variance in pintail, northern shoveler (A. Clypeata), and green-winged teal (A. carolinensis) pairs than other single variable including surface water area. Numbers of pairs of these species increased with increased basin area. The number of wetlands and types of wetlands on the study plots appeared to be important variables associated with the use of stock ponds by breeding pairs. Emergent vegetation species, height, and interspersion were important variables associated with breeding pair use of stock ponds. The presence of sedges (Carex spp.) accounted for more variation in numbers of gadwall (Anas strepera) and American wigeon pairs than any other variable. All breeding pairs were positively associated with roundstem bulrushes (Scirpus validus and S. acutus). Pintail and gadwall pairs used ponds with scattered dense patches or diffuse open stands of emergents but tended not to use completely open ponds. Pintails, American wigeons, northern shovelers, and green-winged teal tended not to use ponds with a dense band of emergents around the shore. Mallard and pintail pairs per pond declined with increased grazing intensity on the upland. Geographic location of stock ponds was associated with pair use. Mallard, pintails, blue-winged teal, gadwall and northern shoveler pairs tended to use ponds located east rather than the west of the Missouri River. American wigeon pairs were more abundant on ponds located in the northern portion of western South Dakota than on ponds located elsewhere.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Waterfowl -- South Dakota
Farm ponds -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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