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Breeding Birds of Wooded Draws in Western North Dakota

by

Craig A. Faanes

U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Northern Prairie Research Center
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401

Wooded draws represent a unique vegetative community within the northern Great Plains. Because of their limited extent over broad areas of grasslands wooded draws offer potentially diverse breeding areas for a large array of birds and mammals. Seabloom et al. (1978) reported that although wooded habitats made up only 8.6% of their area sampled in southwestern North Dakota, nearly 33% of the observed vertebrate fauna occupied wooded habitats.

Little information is available on vertebrate communities in wooded vegetation of western North Dakota. Hopkins (1980) studied the breeding avifaunas of several habitat types in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Hiemenz and Cassel (1980) reported on bird and mammal communities in west-central North Dakota in 1979 and 1980. Grosz et al. (1981) studied wildlife use of draws in the same general area. Gaines and Kohn (1982) found that wooded draws in western North Dakota surrounded by upland native prairie provided important habitat for nesting Swainson's and red-tailed hawks (scientific names are presented in the Annotated Species Accounts).

One serious drawback of these previous investigations has been the lack of integration of plant ecological data with avian population data. Knowledge of the plant and bird data should prove valuable for making predictive estimates of avian use based on plant community physiognomy.

From May to July 1982, I determined the species composition and relative abundance of birds occupying wooded draws in a five-county area of western North Dakota (Fig. 1). My study area was within the Fort Union Coal Planning region administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 0560):
Faanes, Craig A.  1983.  Breeding birds of wooded draws in western North
     Dakota.  The Prairie Naturalist 15(4)173-187.
This resource should be cited as:
Faanes, Craig A.  1983.  Breeding birds of wooded draws in western North
     Dakota.  The Prairie Naturalist 15(4)173-187.  Northern Prairie 
     Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/woodraws/index.htm
     (Version 02JAN98).

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