Roadside Survey of Wildlife Activity

by Nicole Fusco
Faculty advisor: Dr. Rick Lampe

Roadside ditches are a significant habitat for many organisms in Iowa.  From September, 2008 until December, 2009 data was recorded on a (50 mile) portion of US Highway 3 and County Road C49  in Humboldt, Pocahontas, and Buena Vista counties with respect to sightings of pheasants, badger diggings and any DOR (dead on road) organisms. There was more pheasant activity on C49 than US 3 in October, 2008 and April, 2009.  During April and May, 2009, there was a difference in the time of day when pheasant activity was recorded, with more sightings occurring in the morning hours. April and May make up the pheasant mating season. C49 also had significantly more DOR incidents that US 3 during September and October, 2009. Average traveling speed of automobiles might have affected these numbers. Badger activity was greater along C49 in October, 2008 and April, 2009.  Breadth of roadside ditches, proximity of crops, and ability to sight the diggings once the ditches were mowed are all likely important contributors to such differences.