Wood Duck Brood Mobility And Utilization Of Beaver Pond Habitats

During 1975·1976, 9 wood duck (Aix sponsa) hens with broods were tracked via radio telemetry on beaver (Castor canadensis) pond habitats in the piedmont region of South Carolina. The mobility of all broods was greatest during the first week of rearing, and decreased thereafter. The size of the area utilized was also greatest during week I and with the exception of 2 broods, decreased in subsequent weeks. Cumulative home range size stabilized for 3 broods during the third and fourth week, whereas for others, it increased throughout the rearing period. Total home range size varied greatly among broods, but broods consistently utilized a major portion of the potential available habitats. Wood duck broods utilired all habitat types within the respective beaver ponds, but were seldom observed in the non-vegetated, open water sections. The use of small beaver ponds (0.03-0.50 ha) by wood duck broods was significantly less than the use of large beaver ponds (1.51-3.80 ha). Non-beaver pond wetlands were used primarily for the purpose of traveling from one beaver pond habitat to another.

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