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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Management responses of three species of declining sparrows in tallgrass prairie
Year: 1996
Author(s): Swengel, S. R.
Source Title: Bird Conservation International
Source Type: Journal
pages: 241-253
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Three species of declining grassland songbirds were counted in June transects at 42 south-western Missouri (U.S.A.) prairie preserves managed three different ways: biennial July haying, spring burning on a 1-4 year cycle, and sites both burned and hayed every 2-4 years. Hayed prairies had twice as many Henslow’s Sparrows Ammodramus henslowi as burned prairies and 2.5 times as many as sites which had been burned and hayed. Hayed prairies had 59% more Grasshopper Sparrows A. savannarum and 14% more Dickcissels Spiza americana than burned prairies. Fired and hayed sites had 34% higher detection rates of Grasshopper Sparrows than sites only burned and similar numbers of Henslow’s Sparrows and Dickcissels as burned sites. The three species summed were 60% more abundant in hayed as in fired or fired and hayed prairies. Henslow’s Sparrows increased and Grasshopper Sparrows decreased with time since the last management. Grasshopper Sparrows peaked one year earlier after haying than after burning. Dickcissels did not vary by time since last management. Henslow’s Sparrows and Dickcissels were significantly more abundant in larger prairies. Preserve management for these three prairie birds should emphasize biennial to triennial mid-summer haying, instead of burning.