Analysis Of Wood Duck Roost Counts In Northwest South Carolina

Peak numbers of wood ducks (Aix spo/1sa) occurred in the piedmont region of South Carolina in mid-November. During this period of time, 85% of the birds entered a beaver pond roost as flocks (2 or more birds). Significant correlations between numbers of birds observed at equivalent light intensities were used to indicate primary diel habitats for the local wood duck population. A trend in increased flight activity at lower light intensities (foot candles) was observed from September through November. Eight-seven percent of the wood ducks departed from the roost site before official sunrise. Similarly, peak numbers of ducks arrived at the roost site after official sunset. This flight behavior made wood ducks susceptible to being shot after legal hunting hours, which, due to darkness, resulted in increased crippling and a reduced retrieval rate for downed birds. This is a significant management and law enforcemnt problem which could be resolved by mid-afternoon closure for waterfowl hunting.

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