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Wednesday, February 8 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Technical Session. Estimating the Effect of Perennial Vegetation in an Agricultural Landscape on Grassland Birds

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AUTHORS: Julia Dale,Matt Stephenson, Lisa Schulte-Moore - Iowa State University; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit

ABSTRACT: Midwestern grassland birds have faced steep declines due to the expansion of row crop agriculture and the associated loss of habitat. Other concerns associated with Midwestern agriculture include reductions in water quality and soil loss. Integration of strategically placed strips of native prairie vegetation into the larger agricultural landscape has been shown to greatly reduce nutrient and soil export from fields. In addition, integration of small-scale habitat fragments may provide habitat and movement corridors for grassland birds year-round. We investigated bird use of strategically integrated patches of perennial vegetation within the agricultural landscape of Iowa. We conducted bird point counts to estimate bird density in fields with and without integrated perennial vegetation during the summers of 2015 and 2016. Throughout 2015 and 2016 we also investigated bird presence in these fields using Autonomous Recording Units. During point counts, we observed 69 species of birds, with the most common being Red-winged Blackbird (28% of total observations), Dickcissel (10%), Eastern Meadowlark (5%), American Robin (5%), Killdeer (5%), and Common Yellowthroat (4%). Estimated density for Red-winged Blackbird, Dickcissel, and Meadowlark (combined Eastern and Western) were higher in fields containing strategically integrated perennial vegetation. The results of our research will allow us to make recommendations to researchers, landowners and land managers regarding what factors should be considered in relation to grassland bird conservation when considering integration of native perennial vegetation into a farm. 

Wednesday February 8, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am CST
Grand Ballroom B