Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science


This study was designed to investigate 1) vegetative factors influencing ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) use of wetlands during the winter, 2) the relationship of land use practices adjacent to wetlands and the use of such wetlands as winter cover by pheasants, and 3) the feasibility of assessing wetlands as pheasant winter habitat through the use of remote sensing data. Fifteen wetlands in Windsor Township, Brookings County, South Dakota, were randomly selected for study to estimate their use by pheasants. Use of cover types was analyzed by using multiple regression, chi-square, and t-tests. Correlation matrices were generated to locate significant relationships. Pheasant use of wetlands was analyzed suing multiple regression. Height was the most important vegetative factor influencing loafing site selection. Shrubs were highly preferred over other cover types for loafing. Trees, phragmites (Phragmites communis), and cattails (Typha latifolia) were also used regularly. Smartweeds (Polygonum coccineum), roundstem bulrushes (Scirpus acutus and Scirpus validus), and grasses were seldom used. Density was the most important vegetative factor influencing selection of roost sites by pheasants. Most roosts were in cattails while phragmites had the greatest relative number of roosts. Size of weland and the presence of emergency cover around the wetland were the most important factors influencing degree of pheasant use. Wetlands consistently used by pheasants were either large dense cattail wetlands or had considerable shrub growth. The small wetlands (<20 ha) with no shrub growth filled with snow early and were not utilized. Landsat data provided importation on the winter cover potential of a wetland. There were sharp tonal differences on the Landsat imagery between the sparsely vegetated wetlands which supported no birds and the tall, dense cattail, and shrub wetlands which supported winter populations each year. Wetland cover conditions were interpretable using data collected prior to considerable snow accumulation and using imagery enhance by EROS Digital Imagery Processing System (EDIPS).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetlands -- South Dakota
Wetlands -- Remote sensing
Landsat satellites
Winter --South Dakota
Ring-necked pheasant -- Wintering


Includes bibliographical references (pages 50-52)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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