Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Major

Wildlife Ecology

First Advisor

Stephen J. Dinsmore

Second Advisor

Julie A. Blanchong

Abstract

An important Iowa gamebird, Ring-necked Pheasants (Phasianus colchichus) are of value to wildlife managers, who seek to maintain and increase their populations in Iowa. There are a number of challenges facing pheasants in Iowa, and this thesis seeks to inform some of the effort to overcome those challenges, particularly in areas of Iowa with wind farms. We took a large scale view to identify counties that have historically been favorable for pheasants, a smaller scale view to address concerns about wind energy development effects on pheasants, and evaluated an alternative method for conducting pheasant surveys. Our results suggest that male Ring-necked Pheasants are virtually unaffected by Iowa wind turbines. We altered the protocol for a prevailing method of conducting crowing surveys by adding the use of a call playback device and found no difference in pheasant detectability. We observed statistically significant (but we argue not biologically significant) avoidance of wind turbines by pheasants on our study farms. We analyzed a long term dataset of pheasant roadside survey data collected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. We used this information to identify counties in Iowa that supported resilient (abundant and consistent) populations of pheasants. We addressed concerns surrounding an energy production method that is generally considered to be good for the environment but raises questions about wildlife impacts and highlighted counties in Iowa that are hotspots for pheasant production and retention.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-180810-5976

Copyright Owner

James N Dupuie

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

88 pages

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