Waterfowl Habitat Selection on a Multipurpose Reservoir in East Texas

Aerial surveys were used to determine numbers of wintering waterfowl and their habitat preferences on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas during the winters of 1979 - 81. The magnitude of relative preference for 6 wetland types was defined as the mean difference between the ranks of wetland use and availability. A total of 23,277 waterfowl representing 14 species was tallied from 12 surveys. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), gadwall (A. strepera), American widgeon (A. americana), and teal (Anas spp.) were the most abundant species and composed 89.0% of the total Ducks preferred scrub-shrub, emergent wetlands, and aquatic beds over unconsolidated bottom and shore, live forested wetlands, and dead forested wetlands (P < 0.05). Results suggest that waterfowl habitat management should be primarily considered in the design and construction phase of reservoir projects.

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