Habitat use and reproduction of female ring-necked pheasants in eastern Kings County, Nova Scotia
LE3 .A278 1997
Master of Science
Public concern over the availability of habitat for ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) prompted the Department of Natural Resources to initiate a habitat use study for these birds. During the winters of 1995 and 1996, 50 wild female ring-necked pheasants were live-trapped and fitted with necklace style radio collars in eastern Kings County, Nova Scotia. Hen locations were calculated from 18 February 1995 until 01 April 1996. Annual and seasonal habitat use was determined. Nesting activities were also documented. There was a significant difference in annual habitat use. Shrub was the most highly used cover type on an annual as well as a seasonal basis. Alders and grain were two habitat types out of ten that were used in different proportions throughout the day, possibly the result of morning and evening feeding in grain and increased use of alders during midday as a loafing area. Overall nesting success was 54%. Sixty per cent of juvenile and 75% of adult birds were successful at hatching a nest. Predators destroyed 33% of nests. Shrub had the highest number of successful nests/ha., followed by wetland, grass and grain. Later nests tended to be more successful. Success was negatively correlated with nesting home range size indicating hens occupying smaller home ranges were more reproductively fit. Suggestions are given regarding conserving shrub, wetland and grass habitats for pheasants and other farm wildlife.
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