Waterfowl Use Of Strip Mine Ponds In Alabama

Waterfowl use of 23 coal strip mine ponds in Alabama was investigated from January 1976 to December 1977. Nine of the ponds were 5 years old at the time of the study, 10 were 15 years old and 4 were 25 years old. Visual observations were made on a monthly or bi-weekly basis to determine waterfowl usage. Vegetation, cover, and food prod uction on 10 of the ponds (three 5-year-old ponds, four 15-year-old ponds, and three 25-year old ponds) were investigated to evaluate pond potential as waterfowl habitat. Older ponds were positively correlated (P<'O I) with increased waterfowl use. Species most frequently observed were wood duck (Aix sponsa), ring-necked duck (Aythya col/aris), and pied-billed grebe (Podilymhus podiceps). Lack of shoal waters, limited food resources, and lack of cover on younger ponds are believed to be limiting factors for waterfowl.

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