Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Radio telemetry and brood surveys were used to evaluate wood duck (Aix sponsa) brood habitat and movements along 40 km of the Big Sioux River in eastern South Dakota during 1979-81. Most of the oxbows and nearby wetlands in the study area contained water in 1979-80, but drought dried all but 2 of the 33 oxbows in 1981. Fourteen brood hens were radio monitored. In 1980, 4 hens utilized oxbows, 1 hen utilized the river, and 2 hens used other habitats for brood rearing. In 1981, 4 hens utilized oxbows, 2 hens utilized the river, and 1 hen utilized the outlet of a nearby lake for brood rearing. The longest brood movements generally occurred during the 2 days following nest exodus. Hens apparently had initial brood-rearing sites selected before nest exodus. In 1979, no wood duck broods were found on 43 upland wetlands located within 0.8 km of the river, 0.46 broods/km were seen on oxbows, and 0.05 broods/km and 1.67 broods/km were seen on the river. In 1980 and 1981, respectively, 0.63 broods/km and 1.67 broods/km were seen on oxbows, and 0.15 broods/km and 0.27 broods/km were seen on the river. Oxbows appeared to be preferred brood habitat, while the river served primarily as a travel route between oxbows. The lentic oxbow waters contain abundant emergent and submergent vegetation and support abundant invertebrate populations, thereby meeting brood requirements for food and cover.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Radio telemetry
Wood duck
Birds -- Habitat -- South Dakota
Big Sioux River Valley


Includes bibliographical references (pages 29-33)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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