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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Avian response to production stands of native warm-season grasses
Year: 2010
Author(s): West, A., Keyser, P., Buehler, D., Morgan, J., Applegate, R.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 48
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Production uses for NWSG have the potential to affect substantially more area due to market-based incentives they provide to landowners. Production practices and their effect on grassland birds have been studied to a limited extent in the Great Plains, but not in the eastern US. We examined production stands of NWSG in Kentucky and Tennessee including forages (grazing and haying), seed and biofuel production, and control (unmanaged NWSG) fields. We monitored 102 fields, 90 in 2009 and 87 in 2010. Fields was visited three times point count survey to assess presence of 9 target species (northern bobwhite, eastern meadowlark, prairie warbler, field sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, red-winged blackbird, horned lark, and dickcissel), and a fourth time to measure vegetation (species composition, vertical cover, height, and litter cover and depth). Vegetation varied among field types with biofuels and seed production stands having the highest percent NWSG cover (>58%) and controls having the highest percent forbs (>34%) and litter cover (>94%) and greatest litter depth (>3.8 cm). Although there were detections among individual species (red-winged blackbird, field sparrow, all birds together), there was no clear preference for treatments or controls. Patterns of field selection among birds did not vary by year. Despite clear differences in key vegetation measurements, birds did not differ in stand preference or avoidance suggesting that production stands could play a valuable role in the recovery of grassland birds.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper