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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:40am - 9:00am
UPLAND GAME BIRDS & POLLINATORS: Habitat Selection and Survival of Pheasant Broods in Southwestern Minnesota

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AUTHORS. Lindsey Messinger, Nicole Davros - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Farmland Populations and Research Group

ABSTRACT. The ring-necked pheasant (hereafter pheasant) is an important game species, particularly in the Midwestern United States where strong cultural connections and economic benefits associated with hunting are widespread. Pheasants are strongly associated with grassland habitats in agricultural landscapes and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been important in providing habitat for pheasants across their range. Unfortunately, CRP grasslands have been declining since 2007. In this newly evolving landscape with fewer grassland acres available for nesting, brood-rearing, and winter cover, understanding the individual components driving pheasant population dynamics is particularly important to wildlife management agencies tasked with managing pheasant populations. However, studies of these components in a modern agricultural landscape are rare. Pheasant brood habitat selection and survival is one component potential driver of pheasant population dynamics. Wildlife managers interested in aiding brood survival have focused on providing diverse grassland habitats in an effort to provide adequate food resources and vegetative structure for vulnerable pheasant broods. We investigated pheasant brood habitat selection and survival on two sites in Southwestern Minnesota from 2015-2017. Study sites were composed primarily of publically-owned restored grasslands and were surrounded by a matrix of private lands comprised primarily of row crop agriculture. Our objective was to evaluate pheasant brood-rearing habitat selection and brood survival at multiple scales. We evaluated microhabitat selection by assessing vegetative characteristics associated with foraging locations at the scale of a short-term foraging home range. At a macrohabitat scale, we assessed land use selection of a home range related to availability on the landscape.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:40am - 9:00am

Attendees (1)