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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel E. Hubbard


south dakota, land use, avifauna, lake thompson, watershed


Roadside counts of avifauna were conducted during 1995 and 1996 in the Lake Thompson Watershed (L TW) to assess breeding bird abundance and evaluate the effects of land use on their distribution. Waterfowl were surveyed first, then all breeding birds, then ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) broods. In order to determine the effects of surrounding land use on the distribution of these breeding birds, a Geographic Information System (GIS) was developed for the watershed. The blue-winged teal (Anas discors) was the most abundant duck in the LTW both years, based on results of the waterfowl pair counts. The mallard (A. platyrhynchos) was second in abundance both years. Results of land use analyses revealed that total area of wetlands was more important to most waterfowl species than any single water regime, underscoring the importance of wetland complexes and of protecting wetlands of all water regimes. In descending order, the red-winged blackbird (Aeglaius phoeniceus), the yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), and the common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) were the most abundant breeding birds in the LTW, based on results of the point counts. Breeding birds were classified according to their breeding habitat associations. Results of models generated by logistic regression indicated that the models were able to predict a particular species' breeding habitat. The habitat variable associated with a given species' breeding habitat entered that species' model in most instances. Most birds preferred natural habitat; row and small grain crops were positively associated with < 10% of the breeding bird species for which models could be developed. More birds were associated with wetland habitat than any other habitat type, followed by woodlands. However, these habitat types comprised only 9.1 % and 2.5% of the area analyzed, respectively. More ring-necked pheasants were recorded in 1995 than in 1996, during the LTW roadside brood survey and the survey conducted by South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Average brood size increased from 1995 to 1996. Due to low sample sizes, land use analysis was not performed. Surrounding land use was found to have an effect on breeding bird distribution. However many species, particularly nongame birds, did not occur with enough frequency to perform habitat analyses based on roadside counts. For these species, more intensive studies will be needed. Regular roadside counts of waterfowl and nongame birds should be initiated, as long-term data sets are a valuable tool to land managers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Birds -- South Dakota -- Thompson, Lake, Watershed
Land use -- South Dakota -- Thompson, Lake, Watershed


Includes bibliographical references (page 99-107)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1997 Ruth Anne Franke