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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Birds as grazing indicator species in southeastern Arizona
Year: 1984
Author(s): Bock, C. E., Webb, B.
Source Title: Journal of Wildlife Management
Source Type: Journal
pages: 1045-1049
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Horned larks (Eremophila alpestris), Cassin’s sparrows (Aimophila cassinii), lark sparrows (Chondestes grammacus), and grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) are abundant summer birds in the semidesert grasslands of southeastern Arizona. We compared densities and habitats of these species on grazed vs. ungrazed sites. The average characteristics of plots occupied by the four study species are in general accord with other data and show the value of these birds as indicators. Cassin’s sparrows are common in grasslands with scattered shrubs. Our data suggest that Cassin’s sparrows can be excellent indicators of lightly grazed or protected range, but only where shrubs or small trees are present.