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Habitat Distribution and Territoriality In the Dickcissel and Red-Winged Blackbird

Study Areas


Four different habitats were selected for this study. The first of these is an oldfield of approximately 80 acres located on Ft. Riley, a U.S. Army installation just southwest of Manhattan, Kansas. It will be referred to simply as "the oldfield." Dominant genera of plants included sweet clover (Melilotus), sunflower (Helianthus), ragweed (Ambrosia), thistle (Cirsium), milkweed (Asclepias), and a few scattered grasses. Breeding populations of both dickcissels and red-winged blackbirds occupied the oldfield.

A small cattail marsh was also selected for study. It is located in Tuttle Creek State Park in Riley County, Kansas, a few miles north of Manhattan. This marsh (hereafter referred to as "the marsh") covers an area of approximately five acres. Dense patches of cattails (Typha) are the dominant vegetation. The marsh was lined on all sides by dense shrubbery and several species of trees. The marsh supported a population of redwings but no dickcissels.

Two study areas were also selected on Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, a native bluestem prairie of approximately 8600 acres preserved primarily for research purposes. Konza is located in Riley and Geary counties of Kansas, south of Manhattan. Two small plots of the southernmost part of Konza were selected for study. The two plots are adjacent to each other. One is burned annually (30 acres) and the other is never burned (57 acres). They will be referred to as the burned and unburned prairies, respectively. Dickcissels occupied both of these plots as did a small population of redwings.


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