Date: May 2001
Creator: Smith, JoEtta Kaye
Description: Assessment of aquatic plant selection by waterfowl has been conducted during the winters of 1997-2000 on 49 0.2-0.79 ha research ponds in north central Texas. Ponds were categorized by dominant plant species into eight habitat types. Census with waterfowl species identification were performed to investigate impacts of aquatic vegetation and water depth on waterfowl. Eighteen waterfowl species were observed. Peak migration occurred in late December/early January. Mixed native ponds and mixed native/hydrilla ponds were the most frequently selected habitat types. The study included correlation analysis between pond water levels and waterfowl use. Full ponds received greatest use followed by half full ponds, while almost empty ponds received minimal use. Time activity budgets were conducted on waterfowl utilizing mixed native and hydrilla ponds to compare waterfowl time partitioning on native aquatic vegetation versus hydrilla. Although only minor differences were found in time budgets, social status appears to be strongly related to habitat selection. Ducks on native ponds were paired (86%), conversely no ducks on hydrilla ponds were paired. Hydrilla pond although frequently utilized, were populated by lower status birds mostly single hens.
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