Grassland Bird Conservation in Agricultural Hayfields

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Issue Date
2015-12-18
Authors
McNeill, Noah
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Mumme, Ronald L. (Ron)
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Choate, Beth Ann
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Keywords
bird , hayfield , farm , agriculture , conservation , grassland
Project Abstract
Despite the implementation of federal habitat conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, North American grassland bird populations continue to decline. As the goals of these programs do not require economic viability, grassland conservation often fails to integrate high-quality bird habitat and profitable agriculture. This study analyzes the grassland bird populations and hayfield management of seven farms in New York and Pennsylvania though hayfield surveys of bird populations and crop composition, as well as survey site characteristics and cropping phenology. Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird densities were greatest in fields dominated by Timothy and Red Clover, as well as in fields with high plant species abundance. Conversely, fields dominated by Orchardgrass had lower bird densities. Timothy-dominated fields were mowed later than Orchardgrass-dominated fields. Mowing displaced Bobolinks and Red-winged Blackbirds, though not Savannah Sparrows. I developed best management practices based on these results, in order to integrate successful bird reproduction and crop production in the region’s agricultural hayfields.
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Biology
Environmental Science
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Biology
Environmental Science / Studies
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