Grassland Bird Responses to Native Grass Management
Grassland bird populations are experiencing more severe declines than any other guild in North America. The most mature effort for on-the-ground conservation for these species, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), is predicated on the assumption that native warm-season grasses (NWSG) can provide quality habitat for quail and other grassland bird species when deployed in a grazing/haying setting. Indeed 70% of the population goals for bobwhites under the NBCI are based on this strategy alone. Another 23% of the population goals are based on NWSG in CRP, stands that will need some form of management to be effective. Responses of these species to proposed habitat improvements need to be documented to allow adaptive management to guide conservation efforts.
Breeding bird use of managed and unmanaged NWSG stands will be compared to untreated controls (managed cool-season stands) by use of point counts, nest searching, and radio-telemetry as funds permit. Study sites will be identified in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.