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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Upland Sandpiper
Northern Harrier
Short-eared Owl
Sedge Wren
Grasshopper Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow

Horned Lark
Le Conte's Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Dickcissel
Bobolink
Eastern Meadowlark
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Bachman's Sparrow

 

Upland Sandpiper

Upland Sandpiper
photo courtesy of Robert Fry, used by permission
Upland Sandpiper range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/nation
Estimated world population: 350,000
Population management goal: Maintain current population
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): +0.7%
Threat to aircraft: Little threat due to small size, typical behavior (hiding in grassy areas) and tendency to remain on the ground. According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 44 Upland Sandpipers were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified .

Management Recommendations:

  • Maintain large (>100 ha), contiguous tracts of prairie or grassland habitats.  Restore native grassland areas wherever possible.
  • Maintain grassland by burning, grazing, or haying every 2-3 years to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation.
  • Provide a mosaic of grassland habitat by disturbing about one third to half of the habitat each year.  Undisturbed patches are idea for nesting habitat while the disturbed areas are used for feeding and brood cover.
  • Allow some blocks of grassland to be left undisturbed each year to serve as nesting cover.
  • Avoid burning, mowing, or plowing during the nesting season  (May to early July).
  • Provide display perches, such as fence posts, rock piles, or tree stumps.
  • Burning should occur in the early spring (March – early April) before nesting starts or in the fall (September- October) especially for to control woody encroachment.
  • Encourage no-till or minimum-till practices instead of annual tillage practices, so that habitat is undisturbed during the nesting season in agricultural lease lands.


Dechant, J. A., M. F. Dinkins, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, B. D. Parkin, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Upland Sandpiper.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/upsa/upsa.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier
photo courtesy of Jim Gilbert, used by permission

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Estimated world population: 1,300,000
Population management goal: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -1.3%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 38 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified.

Management Recommendations:

  • Maintain a mosaic of grasslands and wetlands so that while some units are being treated to halt succession, other units are available. Treated units should be small (100-200 ha) to minimize the number of displaced nesting harriers. Untreated units should be large enough to meet the requirements of multiple female harriers during the nesting season (individual territories at least 150-260Ha).  In tallgrass areas, provide native and/or tame grasslands that have been recently (≤3 yr) idled.
  • Mow, burn, or graze fields every 2-5 yrs to maintain accumulations of residual vegetation preferred by Northern Harriers. Where natural vegetation has been destroyed by drainage, burning, tillage, overgrazing, or conversion to cropland, plant warm-season grasses and legumes.
  • Provide large areas (≥100 ha) of idle prairie and grassland with patches (< 0.25 Ha) of woody plants (i.e., Blackberry).
  • Avoid disturbing nesting areas during the breeding season, about April through July.
  • Minimize human disturbance near nests.  Do not use chemical pesticides in habitats used by harriers.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Northern Harrier.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/noha/noha.htm (Version 12AUG2004).

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Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl
photo courtesy of Phil Seu, used by permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short-eared Owl range map
USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: Watch List Species
Estimated world population: 2,400,000
Population management goal: Increase by 100%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -4.8%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 36 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Short-eared Owls are nomadic, they may be present only sporadically, but suitable habitat should be maintained.
  • Preserve and/or restore native grassland. Maintain a mosaic of grasslands and wetlands so that some management areas are available for nesting, while others are being treated to halt woody encroachment.
  • Burning, mowing, or grazing every 2-5 yr is recommended to maintain habitat for small mammal prey. Burn or mow to reduce grass height and maintain vegetation 30-40 cm tall.
  • To prevent mortality or injury from collisions with fences, remove unused fences. Increase visibility of fences by hanging pieces of ribbon or foil.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Short-eared Owl.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/seow/seow.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Sedge Wren

photo coming soon!
 
Sedge Wren range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Estimated world population: 6,500,000
Population management goal: Maintain current population
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): +1.9%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 0 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Provide areas of tall, dense planted cover, such as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) or Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans). Suitable habitat also may be provided by areas dominated by reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) if wet-prairie or sedge-meadow habitats are not available.
  • Avoid disturbance, such as mowing or herbicide spraying, during the breeding season. Due to a relatively long nesting season, delay mowing even longer than the date generally recommended for other passerines of 15 July.
  • Spray noxious weeds on a spot-by-spot basis, rather than on an entire-field basis.
  • Create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas to provide for both nesting and foraging needs.
  • Prevent encroachment by woody species in idle grassland by periodic disturbance (burning, mowing, or grazing) every 2-5 years, depending upon local conditions.
  • A rotational system of two or more management units may be most beneficial in providing distinct stands of grasses of various heights, but warm-season grasses should not be cut or grazed  <25 cm.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, B. D. Parkin, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Sedge Wren.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/sewr/sewr.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow
photo courtesy of Jim Gilbert, used by permission
Grasshopper Sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national (Endangered in FL)
Partners in Flight watch list: Stewardship Species
Estimated world population: 15,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 100%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -3.8%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 8 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Provide at least 30 ha of contiguous grassland (Grasshopper Sparrows are considered area sensitive species).  Grassland restoration areas should be >50 ha and preferably >100 ha in size.
  • Implement a rotational disturbance regime to maintain grassland habitat.  Burn every 2-5 years to control woody encroachment; shorter burn rotation in wetter areas (mesic conditions).
  • In some locations, mowing before 15 April can improve habitat, and may be preferable to prescribed burning.
  • To avoid destruction of nests, conduct management treatments before birds arrive in the spring (15 April) or after all young have fledged (1 September). Prescribed burn early spring (March to early April) or late fall (October and November).
  • Use a rotational burning program in which 20-30% of the site is burned each year. Management units should be at least 20-30 ha.  Never burn, mow, or otherwise disturb an entire area in one breeding season.
  • Modify intervals as needed to allow vegetation to recover between disturbances to provide suitable habitat while keeping succession in check.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/grsp/grsp.htm (Version 12AUG2004).

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Henslow’s Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow
photo courtesy of Ed Schneider, used by permission
Henslow's sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: Watch List Species
Estimated world population: 79,000
Population management goal: Increase by 100%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -8.6%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 0 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Provide >30 ha of contiguous grassland.  If contiguous management units not available, provide a complex of smaller units located near enough to one another to facilitate colonization from adjacent territories in available habitat. Grassland restoration areas should be >50 ha and preferably >100 ha in size.
  • Never burn, mow, or otherwise disturb an entire area in one breeding season. Disturbance reduces available habitat for one or two growing seasons.
  • Implement a rotational disturbance regime to maintain grassland habitat. Burn every 2-5 years to control woody encroachment.
  • To avoid destruction of nests, conduct management treatments before birds arrive in the spring (15 April) or after all young have fledged (1 September). Prescribed burn early spring (March to early April) or late fall (October and November).
  • Use a rotational burning program in which 20-30% of the site is burned each year. Management units should be at least 20-30 ha.
  • Modify intervals as needed to allow vegetation to recover between disturbances to provide suitable habitat while keeping succession in check.


Herkert, J. R.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Henslow's Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/hesp/hesp.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Horned Lark

Horned Lark
photo courtesy of Ron Wolf, used by permission
Horned Lark range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Estimated world population: 140,000,000
Population objective: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -2.2%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 178 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Create short, sparse vegetation by burning, and mowing.
  • Burn in the spring or late fall to reduce woody species and shrub growth
  • Maintain large (>100 Ha) grassland areas with a mosaic of grassland habitats and vegetation heights.
  • Road construction plans should consider the effects of roads on bird densities in rights-of-way and ≤500 m from rights-of-
    way


Dinkins, M. F., A. L. Zimmerman, J. A. Dechant, B. D. Parkin, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Horned Lark.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/hola/hola.htm (Version 28MAY2004).

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Le Conte’s Sparrow

Leconte's Sparrow
photo courtesy of David Cree, used by permission
Le Conte's sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Notes: Mainly wintering populations in eastern U.S.
Estimated world population: 2,900,000
Population objective: Maintain or increase current populations
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -0.5%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 0 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Burn every 2-4 yr to control woody encroachment and reduce litter build-up.  Maintain tall grass throughout the winter and burn periodically to allow for foraging space in between grass clumps.   Avoid annual mowing or burning, which can destroy nests and reduce dense litter needed for nesting.
  • Timing and type of management must be adjusted according to regional differences and annual precipitation.
  • Do not leave habitat idle for so long as to allow over-accumulation of litter.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, A. L. Zimmerman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Le Conte's Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/lcsp/lcsp.htm (Version 12AUG2004).

 

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Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow
photo courtesy of Larry Selman, used by permission
Vesper Sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Estimated world population: 30,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -1.1%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 5 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group. 

Management Recommendations:

  • Burn in the spring before breeding territories are established or in late summer or early fall after birds have left the area to control woody encroachment. Do not burn all the habitat in any one year, burn up to 1/3 of the habitat each year.  Leave some woody vegetation in patches to serve as perches.
  • Burn or mow roadsides every 3-5 yr to maintain vegetation quality. To reduce nest losses, mow roadsides only in early spring or late summer. Retain fence lines along roadsides, especially in areas where forbs are sparse, to serve as perches.
  • Delay spraying pesticides and mowing until after July to avoid the peak nesting period.
  • Maintain fencerows adjacent to cropland  Near cropland, increase the proportion of fencerows that consist of both herbaceous and shrubby vegetation.
  • Use no-tillage or minimum-tillage methods to retain crop residue and waste grain on the surface of fields for birds to use in Agricultural lease areas.
  • Limit pesticide use in areas where Vesper Sparrows forage. Use only rapidly degrading chemicals of low toxicity at the lowest rates possible.


Dechant, J. A., M. F. Dinkins, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Vesper Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/vesp/vesp.htm (Version 28MAY2004).

 

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Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow
photo courtesy of Tom Brandt, used by permission
Savannah Sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Notes:
Estimated world population:
82,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -0.8%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 44 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Promote management or enhancement activities that increase the amount of contiguous grassland habitat and remove woody vegetation within and along the periphery of grassland fragments to discourage predators that may use woody vegetation as travel corridors and to enlarge the amount of interior grassland.
  • Aim grassland restorations at benefitting bird species most sensitive to habitat fragmentation; restorations should be ≥50 ha, preferably >100 ha. Where grassland restorations ≥30 ha are not possible, establish several small grasslands, 6-8 ha minimum size, within 0.4 km of each other, and using adjacent grassland habitats (e.g., pasture, hayland, waterway) as corridors among tracts.
  • Avoid disturbing (e.g., burning, mowing, moderate or heavy grazing) suitable habitat during the breeding season, approximately 1 May to 1 September. Treatments in nesting habitat should be delayed until after 1 September to prevent destruction of fledglings and renesting females.
  • Burn grasslands managed for breeding bird habitat in early spring (March to April) or late fall (October to November). In grasslands ≥50 ha, burn 25-30% annually; burn every 5-7 yr (Madden et al. 1999).
  • On airports not large enough to provide habitat for nesting birds (e.g., where all of the grassland available must be mowed to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards), mow and maintain grass short enough (<4 cm) to discourage nesting. This may cause birds to select alternative areas where nesting success would be higher.


Swanson, D. A. 2003. Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Savannah Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/savs/savs.htm (Version 12AUG2004).

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Dickcissel

Dickcissel
photo courtesy of Jim Gilbert, used by permission
Dickcissel range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: Watch List Species
Estimated world population: 22,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -0.9%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 1 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group. 

Management Recommendations:

  • Provide >30 ha of contiguous grassland.  If contiguous management units not available, provide a complex of smaller units located near enough to one another to facilitate colonization from adjacent territories in available habitat. Grassland restoration areas should be >50 ha and preferably >100 ha in size.
  • Never burn, mow, or otherwise disturb an entire area in one breeding season. Disturbance reduces available habitat for one or two growing seasons.
  • Implement a rotational disturbance regime to maintain grassland habitat. Burn every 2-5 years to control woody encroachment.
  • To avoid destruction of nests, conduct management treatments before birds arrive in the spring (15 April) or after all young have fledged (15 September). Prescribed burn early spring (March to early April) or late fall (October and November).
  • Use a rotational burning program in which 20-30% of the site is burned each year. Management units should be at least 20-30 ha.
  • Modify intervals as needed to allow vegetation to recover between disturbances to provide suitable habitat while keeping succession in check.
  • Shape, as well as area, of management units must be taken into consideration; perimeter-area ratio strongly influenced occurrence.
  • Adjust timing and type of management according to habitat. For example, xeric and mesic prairies may differ in rates of postburn litter accumulation, such that xeric prairies should be burned less frequently.
  • Prescribed burning in summer or fall or light disking of selected portions of individual fields can maintain mid-successional seral stages and increase coverage of tall forbs.
  • Do not mow later than mid-September in northern regions, because vegetation will not have time to recover before the winter or the following spring. Avoid mowing or eliminating forbs, brush, and hedgerows.
  • Provide areas of tall, dense planted cover. Allow retired agricultural fields to undergo some secondary succession. However, when succession begins to advance to the point of becoming unsuitable for breeding habitat, implement burning and/or grazing to control the growth of woody vegetation.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, A. L. Zimmerman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Dickcissel.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/dick/dick.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Bobolink

Bobolink
photo courtesy of Jim Gilbert, used by permission
Bobolink range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/ Regional (USFWS region 3- Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin)
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status
Estimated world population: 11,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 50%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -1.7%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 4 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Management Recommendations:

  • Regardless of geographic location, avoid disturbing (e.g., haying, burning, moderately or heavily grazing) nesting habitat during the breeding season, approximately early May to mid-July. Treatments can be done in early spring (several weeks prior to the arrival of adults on the breeding grounds) or in the fall after the breeding season.
  • Create large patches of habitat and minimize woody edges whenever possible to increase Bobolink densities. Minimum patch size requirement for wet meadows was >40 ha, and Bobolink abundance tends to be lower near woody edges (<100 m) than far (>100 m) from woody edges. Shape, as well as area, of management units must be taken into consideration; perimeter-area ratio can strongly influence occurrence.
  • Burn habitat once every 2-4 yr to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation and remove deep litter.
  • Burn large areas on a rotational basis, burning portions of the total area each year. Burn small areas periodically. Ensure that adjacent areas are burned in different years to create a variety of successional stages.
  • Provide hayland areas, and mow as late as possible.  Delay mowing until after 15 July, by which time at least 70% of nestlings will have fledged in years of normal breeding phenology (Dale et al. 1997). To maintain dense cover in idle haylands, mow some fields in alternate years while leaving others idle for at least 3 yr. Divide large fields in half, with each half being mowed in alternate years, thus ensuring productivity of hay and of birds.
  • Delay treatments until late July or August to protect fledglings and late-nesting females. Mowing accounted for 51% of Bobolink nest losses in a New York hayfield (Bollinger et al. 1990).
  • Create large habitat patches (>10-30 ha) and minimize woody edges whenever possible to decrease Brown-headed Cowbird brood parasitism.
  • Use a rotating treatment schedule on several nearby prairie fragments to make a variety of successional stages available. Adjacent patches of alternative habitat provide refuge for fledglings to escape from mowed areas and for late-nesting females.
  • Scattered forbs (e.g., clover [Trifolium spp.]) should be encouraged for nest-site cover. Bobolinks preferred haylands with high grass-to-forb ratios and avoided haylands with high legume-to-grass ratios.


Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, A. L. Zimmerman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Bobolink.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/bobo/bobo.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark
photo courtesy of Frank Shufelt, used by permission
Eastern Meadowlark range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: No national status (11)
Population objective: Maintain current population
Notes:
Estimated world population:
10,000,000
Population management goal: Increase by 100%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -2.9%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 268 were identified and reported to the FAA out of 18,378 birds identified at least to species group. 

Management Recommendations:

  • Promote greater forb density and diversity in managed grasslands to improve overall habitat quality and provide food sources such as insects.  This may be accomplished by interseeding forb species in grassland plantings.
  • Limit the encroachment of woody vegetation. Remove woody vegetation within and along the periphery of grassland fragments to discourage predators that may use woody vegetation as travel corridors and to enlarge the amount of interior grassland.
  • Maintain a complex of burned and unburned habitats to provide a variety of grassland habitat types. Conduct prescribed burns in late spring on warm-season grasses to eliminate or reduce competition by cool-season grasses and weeds.
  • Burn prairie patches >80 ha on a rotation schedule, with 20-30% of area treated annually. Small, isolated prairie patches should not have more than 50-60% of the total area burned at a time. Work to create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas.
  • Burn every 2-5 yr and mow only at intervals of >3 yr.
  • Cool burns are optimal because some bunchgrasses and forbs will remain after the burn.
  • Provide periodic disturbances such as haying or grazing to increase floristic and structural diversity of seeded-native. Optimal mowing frequency may be every 3-5 yr in late summer, involving some kind of raking to reduce the litter layer. Delay burning and mowing within the breeding season to enhance suitable nesting habitat or to prevent nest destruction. If management is required to control weeds in Kansas, use spot mowing and spot spraying after 15 July to reduce nest destruction.
  • If an area needs to be mowed throughout the breeding season, lower the cutter height and mow frequently to discourage birds from nesting in the area and creating a population sink.


Hull, S. D.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Eastern Meadowlark.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/eame/eame.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

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Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur
photo courtesy of Ashok Khosla www.seeingbirds.com, used by permission
Lapland Longspur range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: Stewardship species
Estimated world population:
150,000,000
Population management goal: Maintain or increase current population
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) population trend (1966-2004): Stable

Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 6 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Habitat: human dominated agricultural landscapes.  Habitat currently extensive in NA and do not appear to be threatened.

Lapland Longspurs do not breed in the U.S., but tend to concentrate along waterways and other open ground away from forest habitats.  Winter habitats include grain stubble, grassy areas, and prairie remnants with little or no snow cover.  Heavy snow cover prevents access to seeds and will cause flocks to move to areas with less snow.

Lapland Longspurs are susceptible to mass kills during migration at night during winter storms.  Mass kills of over a 1,000 birds are associated with falling snow, foggy conditions, and isolated groups of lights (< 10 lights in a rural area) that attract the birds and cause them to hit man made-structures.   Lighting recommendations include using strobe lights instead of continuous lights on towers and down-shielding security lighting.  Major kills seem to be more associated with security lighting than tower kills.

Heavy pesticide use on crop seeds to reduce insect populations in agricultural fields should be avoided in agricultural-lease lands, because Lapland Longspurs use these fields during the winter and migration.  Mass kills have been reported for some kinds of pesticides.  These birds are especially susceptible during the spring migration period, because application of pesticides often happens during this same period when the birds are feeding on the seeds in the fields.

Hussell, D. J. T., and R. Montgomerie.  2002. Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus). In The Birds of North America, No. 656 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.).  The Birds of North America, Inc. Philadelphia, PA.

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Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting
photo courtesy of David Blinder, used by permission
Snow Bunting range map

USFWS conservation status: Common
Partners in Flight watch list: Stewardship species
Estimated world population:
19,000,000
Population objective: Maintain current population
Population management goal: Maintain current population
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) population trend (1966-2004): Stable
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 86 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

Snow Buntings forage mostly in agricultural fields during the winter, and heavy pesticide use may cause potential problems for survival.

Habitat: human dominated agricultural landscapes.  Habitat currently extensive in NA and do not appear to be threatened.

Lyon, B. and R. Montgomerie. 1995. Snow Bunting and  McCay’s Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis and Plectrophenax hyperboreus). In The Birds of North America, No. 198-199 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.).  The Birds of North America, Inc. Philadelphia, PA.

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Bachman’s Sparrow

Bachman's Sparrow
photo courtesy of David Cree, used by permission
Bachman's Sparrow range map

USFWS conservation status: Bird of Conservation concern/national
Partners in Flight watch list: Watch List Species (17)
Notes:
Estimated world population:
250,000

Population objective: Increase by 100%
Breeding bird survey population trend (1966-2004): -2.0%
Threat to aircraft: According to FAA National Wildlife Strike Database from Jan 1990 through Sept 2005, 0 were identified and reported to the FAA out of ~1800 birds identified at least to species group.

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