Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Dr. Scott Petrie and Dr. Hugh Henry

Abstract

Changes in availability and foraging profitability of agricultural and aquatic habitats have the potential to greatly influence population dynamics of waterfowl. Therefore, the purpose of my research was to understand habitat selection by Tundra Swans during the nonbreeding period and to explore the scale-dependency of these relationships. Habitat selection was influenced by seasonal changes in nutritional requirements and food availability; Tundra Swans selected open water and agriculture in winter, wetlands were weakly selected during migration when open water was strongly selected (especially during autumn), and there was a 2-fold increase in use of agriculture from autumn to spring. It appears that selection for agriculture and wetlands was influenced by continuous changes in habitat availability, whereas selection for open water changed discretely by region. Based upon my results, habitat management for large-bodied waterfowl should focus on protecting and improving aquatic habitats and ensuring availability of agriculture, especially during winter and spring.


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Ornithology Commons

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