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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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North Dakota Bird Life:

Tracking Changes Over a Quarter Century

A Quarter Century Later...

Stewart and Kantrud's study provided the basis for an opportunity to evaluate changes in breeding bird populations during the quarter century that elapsed since their survey. Have breeding bird populations changed in North Dakota since 1967? Which species increased? Which declined?

In 1992, on the 25th anniversary of Stewart and Kantrud's survey, we(several researchers at Northern Prairie Science Center, Jamestown) repeated this landmark study. Our objectives were to determine what changes had occurred in the breeding bird communities, and perhaps identify causes of changes. To get a handle on year-to-year variation in bird numbers, we repeated the survey again in 1993.

The study would not have been possible without the notes of the original researchers and the cooperation of numerous landowners throughout North Dakota. We were fortunate to have both. Stewart and Kantrud kept detailed notes on birds they encountered on each study site, locations of original study sites, and dates each site was surveyed. Using these records, we could revisit each site on almost the same day of the year that they did.

We are indebted to landowners and operators who were supportive of this study. All but two of more than 100 landowners gave us permission to survey their properties. They deserve much credit for making this study a success. Some landowners even recalled Stewart and Kantrud visiting their property a quarter century earlier. We are also grateful to Hal Kantrud, who continues to work at NPSC, for advice and guidance.

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