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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Changes in breeding bird populations with habitat restoration in northern Iowa
Year: 2003
Author(s): Fletcher, R. J., Koford, R. R.
Source Title: American Midland Naturalist
Source Type: Journal
pages: 83-94
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Native tallgrass prairie and wetland habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States have declined over the past two centuries. Bird communities using these habitats have also experienced widespread declines that are often attributed to severe habitat loss and fragmentation. We estimated the change, or turnover, in bird populations in the Eagle Lake Wetland Complex, Iowa, with ongoing grassland and wetland restoration by linking geographic information system data and bird surveys in different land cover types (hayland, pasture, restored grassland, restored wetland and rowcrop agriculture) during the 19992001 breeding seasons. Habitat restoration efforts primarily converted rowcrop agriculture and pastures into grassland and wetland habitat. Based on land conversion, abundances of most species have likely increased in the area, including many species of management concern. Yet a few species, such as killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), have probably decreased in abundance. This estimation approach and these estimates provided a critical first step for evaluating restoration efforts; however, information on demographic parameters, such as nesting success, in restored areas is needed for understanding how restoration ultimately affects bird populations.