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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: A regional assessment of the effects of conservation practices on grassland bird populations
Year: 2010
Author(s): Lituma, C., Buehler, D.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 46
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Grassland and other early successional birds are declining more than any other avian group in North America. Nine of fourteen species that occur east of the Mississippi River, including Northern Bobwhite, have declined more than 2% per year between 1966 and 1994. Although the effects of individual conservation practices have been documented at the local (i.e., field or farm) scale, little research has attempted to document conservation effects at broader scales. The objective of our research is to undertake a broad-scale assessment to determine where and under what circumstances conservation practices have positively influenced grassland bird populations. We designed a roadside-based survey that targeted grassland and early successional bird species in the Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region. Surveys were conducted on secondary roads from May 15th to July 15th, 2008-2010 across 45 counties in 8 states. Survey routes were 24 km long with 5-minute point counts conducted every 800 m along the route. We focused on detecting 10 priority grassland and early succesional avian species including the Northern Bobwhite. In 2010 we recorded 15,043 individuals of the target species. The two rarest species detected during 2008/2009 surveys, Henslow’s sparrow and blue-winged warbler, decreased in detections and relative abundance (birds/route) in 2010 over the entire survey area. Northern Bobwhite abundance decreased in all but two states, Illinois and Indiana, from the 2008/2009 surveys to 2010, with the sharpest decline of 72% in Tennessee. Other analyses will focus on the response of populations to conservation actions across multiple spatial scales.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper