A comparative study of the environmental relationships among 14 species of wintering waterfowl was conducted at the Welder Wildlife Foundation, San Patricia County, near Sinton, Texas during the fall and early winter of 1973. Measurements of 20 environmental factors (social, vegetational, physical, and chemical) were subjected to multivariate statistical methods to determine certain niche characteristics and environmental relationships of waterfowl wintering in the aquatic community.....Each waterfowl species occupied a unique realized niche by responding to distinct combinations of environmental factors identified by principal component analysis. One percent confidence ellipses circumscribing the mean scores plotted for the first and second principal components gave an indication of relative niche width for each species. The waterfowl environments were significantly different interspecifically and water depth at feeding site and % emergent vegetation were most important in the separation. This was shown by subjecting the transformed data to multivariate analysis of variance with an associated step-down procedure. The species were distributed along a community cline extending from shallow water with abundant emergent vegetation to open deep water with little emergent vegetation of any kind. Four waterfowl subgroups were significantly separated along the cline, as indicated by one-way analysis of variance with Duncan?s multiple range test. Clumping of the bird species toward the middle of the available habitat hyperspace was shown in a plot of the principal component scores for the random samples and individual species.....Naturally occurring relationships among waterfowl were clarified using principal comcomponent analysis and related multivariate procedures. These techniques may prove useful in wetland management for particular groups of waterfowl based on habitat preferences.
Additional publication details
Differential use of fresh water environments by wintering waterfowl of coastal Texas