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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Grassland Bird Response to Grassland Restorations That Vary in Vegetative Diversity

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AUTHORS: Joseph Lambert, Iowa State University; Robert Klaver, US Geological Survey, Iowa State University; Jennifer Vogel, Iowa State University

ABSTRACT: Tallgrass prairie ecosystems in the United States have been dramatically altered through time. The conversion, loss, and fragmentation of grassland habitat has resulted in steep declines in grassland bird populations. Programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), have focused on re-establishing grasslands to increase the overall amount of grassland habitat available on the landscape. Recently, older grassland restorations that were typically planted to non-native, cool-season vegetation (i.e. smooth brome (Bromus inermis)) have been converted to native restorations in an attempt to more accurately match remnant grassland habitat. Our objective was to compare grassland bird use among grassland restorations that were established with varying seed mixes. We selected 5 grassland types, cool-season (smooth brome monocultures), warm-season (2 treatments; established in different years with 5 native warm-season species), high diversity (>40 species), and shortgrass diversity (>100 species), for our study which represents the range of planting mixtures typically established on the landscape. During the summers of 2015 and 2016 we utilized line-transect sampling to survey grassland birds located on restoration plantings in the Spring Run Wetland Complex in northwestern Iowa. Vegetation surveys and invertebrate sweep-net surveys were performed to evaluate vegetative characteristics and food resource potential of the planting types. Common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), and sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis) were the most common species observed in 2015 and 2016. Bird densities differed by planting type: bobolink densities were highest in cool-season fields while common yellowthroat, sedge wren, and red-winged blackbird densities were highest in fields planted with native vegetation. This suggests that a variety of planting types are needed to adequately conserve grassland birds.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (6)