USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Effects of Management Practices on Grassland Birds:

Grasshopper Sparrow

Drawing by Chris Goldade: Grasshopper Sparrow

This report is one in a series of literature syntheses on North American grassland birds. The need for these reports was identified by the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture (PPJV), a part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The PPJV adopted the goal to stabilize or increase populations of declining grassland- and wetland-associated wildlife species in the Prairie Pothole Region. To further that objective, it is essential to understand the habitat needs of birds other than waterfowl, and how management practices affect their habitats. The focus of these reports is on management of breeding habitat, particularly in the northern Great Plains.

This resource is based on the following source:

Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss.  1998 (revised 2003).   Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  28 pages.

This resource should be cited as:

Dechant, J. A., M. L. Sondreal, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, C. M. Goldade, M. P. Nenneman, and B. R. Euliss.  2003.  Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Grasshopper Sparrow.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/grsp/grsp.htm (Version 12AUG2004).


Adobe PDF  View the PDF version of this Species Account  (requires a PDF Reader, download free reader)

Effects of Management Practices on Grassland Birds:

Grasshopper Sparrow

Jill A. Dechant, Marriah L. Sondreal, Douglas H. Johnson, Lawrence D. Igl,
Christopher M. Goldade, Melvin P. Nenneman, and Betty R. Euliss

Series Coordinator: Douglas H. Johnson
Series Assistant Coordinators: Lawrence D. Igl, Jill A. Dechant Shaffer

Reviewer: Nicholas L. Rodenhouse

Range Map: Jeff T. Price

Illustration: Christopher M. Goldade

Major Funding: Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Funding also provided by: U.S. Forest Service

Collaborators:

Louis B. Best, Iowa State University
Carl E. Bock, University of Colorado
Brenda C. Dale, Canadian Wildlife Service
Stephen K. Davis, Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation
James J. Dinsmore, Iowa State University
James K. Herkert, Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board
Fritz L. Knopf, Midcontinent Ecological Science Center
Rolf R. Koford, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
David R. C. Prescott, Alberta NAWMP Centre
Mark R. Ryan, University of Missouri
David W. Sample, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
David A. Swanson, Ohio Division of Wildlife
Peter D. Vickery, Massachusetts Audubon Society
John L. Zimmerman (retired), Kansas State University


Organization and Features of this Species Account

Information on the habitat requirements and effects of habitat management on grassland birds were summarized from information in more than 5,500 published and unpublished papers. A range map is provided to indicate the relative densities of the species in North America, based on Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data. Although birds frequently are observed outside the breeding range indicated, the maps are intended to show areas where managers might concentrate their attention. It may be ineffectual to manage habitat at a site for a species that rarely occurs in an area. The species account begins with a brief capsule statement, which provides the fundamental components or keys to management for the species. A section on breeding range outlines the current breeding distribution of the species in North America, including areas that could not be mapped using BBS data. The suitable habitat section describes the breeding habitat and occasionally microhabitat characteristics of the species, especially those habitats that occur in the Great Plains. Details on habitat and microhabitat requirements often provide clues to how a species will respond to a particular management practice. A table near the end of the account complements the section on suitable habitat, and lists the specific habitat characteristics for the species by individual studies. A special section on prey habitat is included for those predatory species that have more specific prey requirements. The area requirements section provides details on territory and home range sizes, minimum area requirements, and the effects of patch size, edges, and other landscape and habitat features on abundance and productivity. It may be futile to manage a small block of suitable habitat for a species that has minimum area requirements that are larger than the area being managed. The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is an obligate brood parasite of many grassland birds. The section on cowbird brood parasitism summarizes rates of cowbird parasitism, host responses to parasitism, and factors that influence parasitism, such as nest concealment and host density. The impact of management depends, in part, upon a species' nesting phenology and biology. The section on breeding-season phenology and site fidelity includes details on spring arrival and fall departure for migratory populations in the Great Plains, peak breeding periods, the tendency to renest after nest failure or success, and the propensity to return to a previous breeding site. The duration and timing of breeding varies among regions and years. Species' response to management summarizes the current knowledge and major findings in the literature on the effects of different management practices on the species. The section on management recommendations complements the previous section and summarizes specific recommendations for habitat management provided in the literature. If management recommendations differ in different portions of the species' breeding range, recommendations are given separately by region. The literature cited contains references to published and unpublished literature on the management effects and habitat requirements of the species. This section is not meant to be a complete bibliography; for a searchable, annotated bibliography of published and unpublished papers dealing with habitat needs of grassland birds and their responses to habitat management, use the Grassland and Wetland Birds Bibliography on the home page of this resource.

This report has been downloaded from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center World-Wide Web site, http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/. Please direct comments and suggestions to Douglas H. Johnson, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 8711 37th Street SE, Jamestown, North Dakota 58401; telephone: 701-253-5539; fax: 701-253-5553; e-mail: Douglas_H_Johnson@usgs.gov.


Grasshopper Sparrow
(Ammodramus savannarum)
GIF - Grasshopper sparrow range map.
Figure.  Breeding distribution of the Grasshopper Sparrow in the United States and southern Canada, based on Breeding Bird Survey data, 1985-1991. Scale represents average number of individuals detected per route per year. Map from Price, J., S. Droege, and A. Price. 1995. The summer atlas of North American birds. Academic Press, London, England. 364 pages.

Keys to management are providing large areas of contiguous grassland of intermediate height with moderately deep litter cover and low shrub density.

Breeding Range:


Grasshopper Sparrows breed from southern British Columbia and southern Alberta to southern Maine, south to southern California, southcentral Texas, and central Georgia, and east to North Carolina, Maryland, and New Hampshire. The main population is in the Great Plains, from North Dakota south to northern Texas, and east to Illinois (National Geographic Society 1987). (See figure for the relative densities of American Bitterns in the United States and southern Canada, based on Breeding Bird Survey data.)

Suitable habitat:


Grasshopper Sparrows prefer grasslands of intermediate height and are often associated with clumped vegetation interspersed with patches of bare ground (Bent 1968, Blankespoor 1980, Vickery 1996). Other habitat requirements include moderately deep litter and sparse coverage of woody vegetation (Smith 1963; Bent 1968; Wiens 1969, 1970; Kahl et al. 1985; Arnold and Higgins 1986). Grasshopper Sparrows breed in both native and tame grassland vegetation (Kendeigh 1941, Birkenholz 1973, Whitmore 1979, Sample 1989, Wilson and Belcher 1989, Madden 1996), including native prairie, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields, pasture, hayland, airports, and reclaimed surface mines (Wiens 1970, 1973; Harrison 1974; Ducey and Miller 1980; Whitmore 1980; Kantrud 1981; Renken 1983; Laubach 1984; Renken and Dinsmore 1987; Bollinger 1988; Frawley and Best 1991; Johnson and Schwartz 1993; Klute 1994; Berthelsen and Smith 1995; Hull et al. 1996; Patterson and Best 1996; Delisle and Savidge 1997; Prescott 1997; Koford 1999; Jensen 1999; Horn and Koford 2000). Grasshopper Sparrows occasionally inhabit cropland, such as corn and oats, but at a fraction of the densities found in grassland habitats (Smith 1963, Smith 1968, Ducey and Miller 1980, Basore et al. 1986, Faanes and Lingle 1995, Best et al. 1997). In Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, Grasshopper Sparrows were more common in grasslands enrolled in the Permanent Cover Program (PCP) than in cropland (McMaster and Davis 1998). PCP was a Canadian program that paid farmers to seed highly erodible land to perennial cover; it differed from CRP in that haying and grazing were allowed annually in PCP.

Within grazed mixed-grass areas in North Dakota, abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows was positively associated with percent grass cover, litter depth, visual obstruction (vegetation height/density), density of low-growing shrubs (western snowberry [Symphoricarpos occidentalis] and silverberry [Elaeagnus commutata]), vegetation density, plant communities dominated by shrubs and introduced grass (smooth brome [Bromus inermis], Kentucky bluegrass [Poa pratensis], and quackgrass [Agropyron repens]), and plant communities dominated by Kentucky bluegrass and native grass (Stipa, Bouteloua, Koeleria, and Schizachyrium) (Schneider 1998). Abundance was negatively associated with percent clubmoss (Selaginella densa) cover and with plant communities dominated solely by native grass. The strongest vegetational predictors of the presence of Grasshopper Sparrows were decreasing clubmoss cover, decreasing bare ground, and increasing litter. In Missouri tallgrass, density of Grasshopper Sparrows decreased with increasing vegetation height and amount of woody cover (Winter 1998). In Colorado, Bock et al. (1999) compared the abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows between upland (mixed-grass prairie) and lowland (tallgrass prairie or tame hayland) grasslands. Abundance was not significantly different between upland and lowland plots. In portions of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows was positively correlated with percent grass cover, percent litter cover, total number of vertical vegetation hits, effective vegetation height, and litter depth; abundance was negatively correlated with percent bare ground, amount of variation in litter depth, amount of variation in forb or shrub height, and the amount of variation in forb and shrub heights (Rotenberry and Wiens 1980). A table near the end of the account lists the specific habitat characteristics for Grasshopper Sparrows by study.

Area requirements:


Although average territory size for Grasshopper Sparrows is small (<2 ha) (George 1952; Wiens 1969, 1970; Ducey and Miller 1980; Laubach 1984; Delisle 1995; O'Leary and Nyberg 2000), Grasshopper Sparrows are area sensitive, preferring large grassland areas over small areas (Herkert 1994a,b; Vickery et al. 1994; Bollinger 1995; Helzer 1996; O'Leary and Nyberg 2000). In Illinois, the minimum area on which Grasshopper Sparrows were found was 10-30 ha (Herkert 1991), and the minimum area needed to support a breeding population may be ≥30 ha (Herkert 1994b). In Nebraska, the minimum area in which Grasshopper Sparrows were found was 8-12 ha, with a perimeter-area ratio of 0.018 (Helzer 1996, Helzer and Jelinski 1999). Occurrence of Grasshopper Sparrows was positively correlated with patch area and inversely correlated with perimeter-area ratio (Helzer and Jelinski 1999). However, in southwestern Missouri tallgrass prairie fragments, vegetation structure more strongly influenced the density of Grasshopper Sparrows than did fragment size (Winter 1998, Winter and Faaborg 1999).

In Kansas tallgrass prairie, rates of Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) brood parasitism were not statistically different for nests placed ≤100 m from woodland edges compared to nests placed >100 m from woodland edges; parasitism rates also were not different for nests placed ≤100 m from agricultural edges versus nests placed >100 m from agricultural edges (Jensen 1999). In Minnesota tallgrass prairie, nest depredation and brood parasitism decreased farther from woody edges, and nest depredation rates were lower on large (130-486 ha) than on small (16-32 ha) grasslands (Johnson and Temple 1990). The probability of encountering Grasshopper Sparrows was highest on large fragments far from a forest edge and ≥4 yr postburn; however, nest productivity was highest for nests far from a forest edge and 1 yr postburn (Johnson and Temple 1986). Delisle (1995) found that only one of 31 territories in Nebraska CRP fields had >50% of its area within 50 m of an edge. However, 14 territories were classified as interior territories and 17 as edge territories when 100 m instead of 50 m was used as the criterion for interior versus edge territories. Of 10 nests, none were placed <50 m from an edge and nest distance from an edge averaged 119 m. Edges included roadsides, wooded draws, and fencelines that separated CRP fields from crop fields. In Colorado, Bock et al. (1999) compared the abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows between interior and edge locations. Edge was defined as the interface between suburban development and upland or lowland habitat, and interior locations were 200 m from edge. Grasshopper Sparrows were significantly more abundant on interior plots than on edge plots.

Brown-headed Cowbird brood parasitism:


Rates of brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds on Grasshopper Sparrows vary from 0% of 23 nests (Winter 1998) to 58% of 12 nests (Klute 1994, Klute et al. 1997). Refer to Table 1 in Shaffer et al. (2003) for rates of cowbird brood parasitism. Grasshopper Sparrows may be multiply-parasitized (Elliott 1976, 1978; Davis and Sealy 2000). In Kansas, cowbird parasitism cost Grasshopper Sparrows about 2 young/parasitized nest, and there was a low likelihood of nest abandonment occurring due to cowbird parasitism (Elliott 1976, 1978). In Manitoba, mean number of host young fledged from successful, unparasitized nests was significantly higher than from successful, parasitized nests; cowbird parasitism cost Grasshopper Sparrows about 1.3 young/successful nest (Davis and Sealy 2000).

Breeding-season phenology and site fidelity:


Grasshopper Sparrows arrive on the breeding grounds in mid-April and depart for the wintering grounds in mid-September (George 1952, Bent 1968, Smith 1968, Harrison 1974, Stewart 1975, Laubach 1984, Vickery 1996). In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, they arrive later (mid-May) and leave earlier (August) (Knapton 1979). Grasshopper Sparrows may be site faithful; two banded adult males were recaptured in the year following banding in the same breeding area in Maryland (Skipper 1998). Throughout most of their range, Grasshopper Sparrows can produce two broods, one in late May and a second in early July (George 1952, Smith 1968, Vickery 1996). However, in the northern part of its range, one brood is probably most common; in Maine, no territories showed evidence of successfully fledging two broods and double-broodedness in Wisconsin is uncommon (Vickery et al. 1992, Wiens 1969). Conversely, in Michigan, double broods have been recorded (Harrison 1974). Grasshopper Sparrows frequently renest after nest failure, and if unsuccessful in previous attempts, may renest 3-4 times during the breeding season (Vickery 1996).

Species' response to management:


Regardless of management treatment, avoid disturbing (e.g., burning, haying, heavy grazing) nesting habitat during the breeding season, approximately mid-April to late August (Stewart 1975, Whitmore 1981, Frawley 1989, Rodenhouse et al. 1995, Vickery 1996). Treatments can be done in early spring (several weeks prior to the arrival of adults on the breeding grounds) or possibly in the fall after the breeding season, as suggested for Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) (Renken 1983, Martin and Gavin 1995). Bollinger (1988) suggested leaving adjacent, untreated areas to provide refuge for fledglings and late or re-nesting Bobolinks, a technique that could also be applied to Grasshopper Sparrows.

In general, Grasshopper Sparrows avoid spring-burned areas in the summer immediately following the burn (Huber and Steuter 1984, Johnson 1997). Grasshopper Sparrows exhibited variable responses to burning across their range. In North Dakota, Grasshopper Sparrows responded positively to prescribed burning, becoming most abundant 2-4 yr postfire (Madden 1996, Johnson 1997). Abundance was highest in grasslands that had been burned four times in the previous 15 yr, compared to unburned areas and areas burned one to two times in the previous 15 yr (Madden et al. 1999). Density of Grasshopper Sparrows decreased immediately after burning in South Dakota, due to loss of nesting cover (litter and live vegetation) and loss of food source, but increased 2-3 yr postburn (Forde et al. 1984). A similar pattern occurred on a burned tallgrass prairie in Wisconsin (Volkert 1992). However, density decreased after the prairie was burned a second time. In Illinois tallgrass, Grasshopper Sparrows were significantly more abundant 1-2 yr postfire (Herkert 1994a), and in Montana shrubsteppe, densities were depressed for ≥3 yr postfire (Bock and Bock 1987). In Kansas, relative abundances were not affected by burning in moist years, but may be reduced in drought years (Zimmerman 1992); relative abundances between annually burned and unburned grasslands did not differ (Zimmerman 1993). No differences in mean number of young/attempted nest were detected between areas that were burned but not grazed and areas that were neither burned or grazed (Zimmerman 1997). Jensen (1999) found Grasshopper Sparrow nests in heavily grazed and recently burned (burned every 1-2 yr) tallgrass pastures. Grasshopper Sparrows were more abundant in moderately grazed, annually burned tallgrass prairie than in native, annually burned CRP, possibly because invertebrate prey was higher in the grazed areas (Klute 1994, Klute et al. 1997). In a Kansas study of spring-burned and unburned native CRP fields, abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows was nonsignificantly higher on spring-burned than unburned fields (Robel et al. 1998). In Oklahoma, number of nests, clutch size, number of young fledged from successful nests, and nest success did not differ significantly between idle tallgrass plots and plots that were burned and/or grazed (Rohrbaugh et al. 1999). Fewer nests were found on undisturbed plots in the second and third year of the study than in the first year, possibly due to increased vegetation density caused by lack of fire or grazing. Densities of Grasshopper Sparrows in southwestern Missouri were not affected by burning (Winter 1998). Johnson and Temple (1990) found lower rates of depredation on nests in recently burned (≤3 yr) areas in Minnesota than nests in areas unburned for ≥4 yr.

Depending upon location, mowing prior to arrival in spring can improve habitat for Grasshopper Sparrows, and may be preferable to prescribed burning (Bollinger 1988, Swengel 1996). In Missouri tallgrass prairie fragments, Grasshopper Sparrow density increased one year after haying but decreased in areas that had been hayed more than one year earlier (Winter 1998). Grasshopper Sparrows nested in tallgrass prairie hay meadows in eastern Kansas (Jensen 1999). In Iowa rowcrop fields, Grasshopper Sparrows nested in grassed waterways that were mowed the previous year (Bryan and Best 1994). In Nebraska CRP seeded to native tallgrass, the only field that maintained a consistent Grasshopper Sparrow population was mowed 3 out of 4 yr (Delisle and Savidge 1997). In North Dakota CRP seeded to cool-season grasses, there was no significant difference in abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows in the year after mowing between idled and mowed portions of fields (Horn and Koford 2000). However, Grasshopper Sparrows were found only in mowed portions of five of six fields. Grasshopper Sparrows preferred older hayfields (not reseeded in more than 10 yr) in New York (Bollinger and Gavin 1992, Bollinger 1995). Fields in New York mowed at earlier dates (late May-early June) the previous year had lower Grasshopper Sparrow densities than those mowed at later dates (Bollinger 1995). Mowing-induced nest destruction appeared to be responsible for this reduction in nesting density. Grasshopper Sparrows preferred hayfields and avoided permanent pasture on a farm in Michigan (George 1952). However, Grasshopper Sparrows were more common in grazed PCP than mowed PCP fields (McMaster and Davis 1998). In southern Saskatchewan hayfields, number of pairs was not affected by amount of cropland or wetland within 1.6 km of study areas (McMaster et al. 1999). In an alfalfa (Medicago sativa) field in Michigan, Grasshopper Sparrows continued breeding following mowing in late June, but breeding was terminated after the second mowing in early August (Harrison 1974).

Grazing in sparse, arid grasslands can be detrimental, as vegetation may become too short and open for Grasshopper Sparrow use (Bock et al. 1984, Bock and Webb 1984, Bock et al. 1993). However, in areas where grass is too tall or dense, grazing benefits Grasshopper Sparrows by creating patchy areas, decreasing vegetation height, and thinning dense vegetation (Skinner 1974, Kantrud 1981, Whitmore 1981). Kantrud and Kologiski (1982) found significantly greater Grasshopper Sparrow densities on lightly grazed plots than on heavily grazed plots, and moderately grazed plots supported intermediate sparrow densities. In northcentral Colorado, Grasshopper Sparrows were found on prairie that was heavily grazed in the winter, but not on prairie that was heavily grazed in the summer (Wiens 1970). Grasshopper Sparrows preferred grazed over idle areas in North Dakota; density was highest on short-duration, twice-over rotation, and season-long grazing systems, but density decreased as litter increased (Messmer 1990). In Nebraska, abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows did not differ between cattle-grazed areas and areas both grazed by American bison (Bison bison) and burned (Griebel et al. 1998). In southwestern Wisconsin, Grasshopper Sparrows were more abundant in continuously grazed pastures than in rotationally grazed pastures or in ungrazed pastures (Temple et al. 1999). Ungrazed grasslands were neither mowed or grazed from 15 May to 1 July. Continuously grazed sites were grazed throughout the summer at levels of 2.5-4 animals/ha. Rotationally grazed pastures, stocked with 40-60 animals/ha, were grazed for 1-2 d and then left undisturbed for 10-15 d before being grazed again; pastures averaged 5 ha. All sites were composed of 50-75% cool-season grasses, 7-27% legumes, and 8-23% forbs. In Alberta, Grasshopper Sparrows were present only in tame pastures of crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) that were grazed from late April to mid-June, and were absent from continuously grazed native pastures and from native pastures grazed in early summer and those grazed after 15 July (Prescott and Wagner 1996). In southcentral Saskatchewan, Grasshopper Sparrows were more frequent in pure crested wheatgrass pastures and wheatgrass (Agropyron)/grass (smooth brome and bluegrass [Poa]) pastures than in native mixed-grass pastures, and more frequent in fields of pure crested wheatgrass than wheatgrass/alfalfa pastures (Davis and Duncan 1999). In southwestern Saskatchewan, no significant difference in abundance was found between lightly grazed mixed-grass prairie and lightly grazed stands of crested wheatgrass (Sutter and Brigham 1998).

In Minnesota and North Dakota, abundance of Grasshopper Sparrows was higher in CRP than in Waterfowl Production Areas (tracts of grassland and wetland managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl) (Koford 1999). McCoy et al. (1999) reported that fecundity of Grasshopper Sparrows over 3 yr in Missouri CRP fields was high enough to maintain a stable population. Within native Kansas CRP, Grasshopper Sparrows were common (Hull et al. 1996). In Texas, nest density within native or tame CRP fields did not differ by cover type (blue grama [Bouteloua gracilis]/sideoats grama [Bouteloua curtipendula], blue grama/Kleingrass [Panicum coloratum], and blue grama/Turkestan bluestem [Andropogon ischaemum]) (Berthelsen and Smith 1995).

Grasshopper Sparrows occasionally nest in cropland. In Iowa, Grasshopper Sparrows preferred untilled fields of corn and that were idle in fall and spring and contained year-round crop residue, rather than tilled fields (Basore et al. 1986). They nested at low densities in strip cover, such as waterways, terraces, fencerows, and roadside ditches (Basore et al. 1986, Bryan and Best 1994). Grasshopper Sparrows also nested in oat fields in Iowa (Laubach 1984). Within strip-intercropped fields (i.e., planting rowcrops, legumes, and small grains in a series of adjacent, narrow strips) in Iowa, Grasshopper Sparrows were present in low numbers, although no nests were detected (Stallman and Best 1996). In South Dakota, restoration of corn fields and soybean fields to prairie was beneficial to Grasshopper Sparrows (Blankespoor 1980). A 2-yr drought in combination with 1 yr of grazing on restored fields caused a decrease in effective plant height and in vertical and horizontal plant density; these vegetative changes were favored by Grasshopper Sparrows. In Wisconsin, Grasshopper Sparrows were the first bird species to occupy a restored native tallgrass prairie (Volkert 1992).

In a Texas study examining the effects on avian density of discing, spraying of 2,4,5-T about 14 yr prior to the study, and construction of brush shelters, grassland sparrows, as a group, were more abundant in the treated than untreated areas; effects on particular species, such as Grasshopper Sparrow, composing the group of grassland sparrows, were not examined (Gruver and Guthery 1986). In Maine, territory density of Grasshopper Sparrows decreased for 2-5 yr following the application of the herbicide hexazinone at a rate of 4 kg/ha on lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) (Vickery 1993).

Management Recommendations:

Provide areas of suitable habitat large enough to support breeding populations. In Illinois, the minimum area on which Grasshopper Sparrows were found was 10-30 ha (Herkert 1991), and the minimum area needed to support a breeding population may be ≥30 ha (Herkert 1994b). In Nebraska, minimum area was ≥8 ha (Helzer 1996), and in New York, Bollinger and Gavin (1992) recommend creating patches >10-15 ha whenever possible. Shape, as well as area, of management units must be taken into consideration; perimeter-area ratio strongly influenced occurrence of Grasshopper Sparrows in Nebraska (Helzer and Jelinski 1999).

Reduce amount of grassland edge near suburban interfaces (Bock et al. 1999).

Treat portions of large areas on a rotational schedule to provide a mosaic of successional stages (Renken 1983, Renken and Dinsmore 1987, Herkert 1994a, Madden 1996, Johnson 1997, Rohrbaugh et al. 1999). Herkert (1994a) suggests that on areas >80 ha, annually treated (burned, mowed, or grazed) subunits should be ≥30 ha, or about 20-30% of the total area.

Treat small, isolated areas as part of a larger mosaic, ensuring a variety of successional stages (Renken 1983, Renken and Dinsmore 1987, Herkert 1994a, Madden 1996, Johnson 1997). Burn (or possibly mow or graze) ≤50-60% of small, isolated prairie fragments at a time (Herkert 1994a). Winter (1998) suggested burning no more than 20-30% of tallgrass prairie fragments annually in a rotational manner.

In eastern portions of Grasshopper Sparrow range, create or maintain patches of relatively sparse, grass-dominated vegetation resembling old (>8-10 yr since planted) hayfields (Bollinger and Gavin 1992, Bollinger 1995). Plant bunch grasses on disturbed sites; bunch grasses allow openings in vegetation that facilitate foraging by Grasshopper Sparrows (Smith 1963, Whitmore 1981).

In eastern and Great Plains grasslands, discourage woody vegetation (Whitmore 1981). This can be accomplished by disturbing (mowing, burning, or grazing) idle grassland (Skinner 1974). Remove woody vegetation within and along the periphery of prairie fragments because it may attract predators and reduce nest success (Winter 1998; O'Leary and Nyberg 2000).

Maintain open grassland by burning habitat once every 2-4 yr (Whitmore 1981, Madden 1996, Johnson 1997, Madden et al. 1999). In Minnesota, Johnson and Temple (1990) found lower rates of nest depredation on nests in recently burned (≤3 yr) areas.

Monitor population responses to burning, especially during unusually dry years. Treatment schedules should be adjusted during droughts as burning may reduce above-ground productivity to levels unacceptable to birds (Zimmerman 1992).

Eastern grasslands can be burned in late winter to prevent encroachment of shrubs (Whitmore 1981). Disturbance should occur prior to or following the breeding season (Whitmore 1981, Frawley 1989, Rodenhouse et al. 1995), and disturbance should occur every 2-3 yr (Bollinger and Gavin 1992). However, in western shrubsteppe, removal of shrubs may be detrimental, possibly because shrubs are used as song perches in shrubsteppe habitat (Bock and Bock 1987).

In Missouri, mowing on a 1-3 yr rotation provided vegetation heights (<30 cm) suitable for Grasshopper Sparrows (Swengel 1996). Interval between management depends on grassland type, as mesic prairie regains litter more rapidly (1-3 yr) than dry prairie (4-6 yr), and sooner in southern than northern prairie (Swengel 1996).

Graze areas of tall, dense vegetation to provide diverse grass heights and densities (Skinner 1974, Kantrud 1981, Whitmore 1981). A rotational system may be most beneficial (Skinner 1974, Berkey et al.1993). Berkey et al. (1993) suggested that short-term (2-4 wk in May) grazing in North Dakota may be detrimental to Grasshopper Sparrow populations. Graze native, tallgrass CRP fields to improve the breeding habitat by reducing vegetative height, and by increasing canopy and forb coverage and invertebrate biomass (Klute 1994).

Use various grazing systems (e.g., early-season, deferred [after 15 July], and continuous grazing of native grasslands, and spring-grazing [late April to early June] of tame grasslands) to maintain a mosaic of grassland types (Prescott and Wagner 1996). By allowing tame pastures to be grazed in spring, suitable habitat is maintained in the tame pastures for Grasshopper Sparrows, and grazing in native pastures can be deferred (Prescott and Wagner 1996).

In arid western regions, maintain relatively dense grasslands by curtailing grazing and burning activities (Bock and Webb 1984, Bock and Bock 1987).

In cultivated areas, use no-till/minimum-till methods when possible (Berkey et al. 1993, Rodenhouse et al. 1995, Koford and Best 1996).


Table.  Grasshopper Sparrow habitat characteristics.

Author(s) Location(s) Habitat(s) Studied* Species-specific Habitat Characteristics
Basore et al. 1986 Iowa Cropland, idle Preferred to nest in untilled fields (idle in fall and spring and which contain year-round crop residue) in which corn had been planted into sod residue, rather than tilled fields or strip cover
Berthelsen and Smith 1995 Texas Conservation Reserve Program (CRP; idle seeded-native, idle seeded-native/tame), cropland Nested in CRP planted to blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis)/sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), blue grama/Kleingrass (Panicum coloratum), and blue grama/Turkestan bluestem (Andropogon ischaemum); density was equal in all CRP cover types
Birkenholz 1973 Illinois Idle, idle tallgrass, idle tame, wetland, wet meadow Occurred only in stands of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), which had drier soils and lower foliage cover at 30 cm than nearby native prairie
Blankespoor 1980 South Dakota Idle seeded-native, seeded-native pasture Nested in areas with decreased vertical and horizontal plant density and effective plant height, and increased vegetation evenness caused by drought and grazing
Bock and Bock 1987 Montana Burned shrubsteppe, idle shrubsteppe Abundance was lower on burned vs. unburned shrubsteppe due to elimination of sagebrush (Artemisia) cover
Bock et al. 1999 Colorado Idle mixed-grass, idle tallgrass, mixed-grass pasture, tallgrass pasture, tame hayland Were more abundant on interior plots than on edge plots; no difference in abundance between lowland and upland habitat; edge was defined as the interface between suburban development and upland or lowland habitat, and interior locations were 200 m from edge; upland grasslands were mixed-grass prairie and lowland grasslands were tallgrass prairie or tame hayland
Bock and Webb 1984 Arizona Idle semidesert grassland, semidesert grassland pasture Used habitat with 5% woody cover, 72% grass cover, 4% forb cover, 23% bare ground, and mean grass height 30 cm; were found only on ungrazed sites
Bollinger 1995 New York Tame hayland Occurred only in oldest haylands characterized by relatively short, sparse, patchy, grass-dominated vegetation, and greater litter cover; breeding density was positively correlated with field size
Bryan and Best 1994 Iowa Cropland, idle tame, tame hayland Nested only in grassed waterways (planted to smooth brome [Bromus inermis]) that were mowed the previous year
Davis and Duncan 1999 Saskatchewan Mixed-grass pasture, tame pasture Were more frequent in pure crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) pastures and wheatgrass (Agropyron) /grass (Bromus inermis, Poa) pastures than in native mixed-grass pastures, and were more frequent in pure wheatgrass pastures than wheatgrass/legume (Medicago sativa) pastures; occurrence was positively associated with vegetation height, crested wheatgrass, thick-spike wheatgrass, bluegrass, and needlegrass
Delisle 1995, Delisle and Savidge 1997 Nebraska CRP (burned seeded-native, idle seeded-native, idle tame, seeded-native hayland, tame hayland) Were found in plantings of cool-season grasses and legumes, and plantings of warm-season native grasses; abundance was positively related to litter cover and grass cover, and negatively related to vertical density and litter depth; occupied cool-season plantings had short, sparse vegetation and shallow litter; occupied warm-season native planting was mowed 3 of 4 yr; only one of 31 territories had ≥50% of its area within 50 m of an edge; none of the 10 nests found were placed ≤50 m from an edge; nest distance from an edge averaged 119 m
Frawley and Best 1991 Iowa Tame hayland Nested in first and second alfalfa (Medicago sativa) crops
Harrison 1974 Michigan Tame hayland Preferred areas characterized by average vegetation measurements of 60.5% litter cover, 48.4 cm vegetation height, 5.1 vegetation contacts/dm at 5 cm high, and 12.7 vegetation contacts/dm²; preferred low (1.5 m), artificial perches over high (2 m) perches
Helzer 1996, Helzer and Jelinski 1999 Nebraska Wet-meadow hayland, wet-meadow pasture Occurrence within management units was best predicted by perimeter-area ratio; densities were lower within 75 m of wooded edges and 50 m of cornfield edge
Herkert 1991 Illinois Burned seeded-native, burned tallgrass, cropland, idle seeded-native, idle tallgrass, idle tame, tame hayland Density was positively correlated with area, negatively correlated with mean grass height, mean vegetation height, and total number of live and dead vegetation contacts; was twice as abundant on areas mowed before 1 May as unmowed; was more abundant on large prairie areas (≥30 ha), never occurred on areas <10 ha
Huber and Steuter 1984 South Dakota Burned mixed-grass pasture, mixed-grass pasture Preferred unburned areas to spring burned areas in the summer immediately following the burn
Horn and Koford 2000 North Dakota CRP (idle tame, tame hayland) Abundance was not significantly different in the year after mowing between idled and mowed portions of fields
Jensen 1999 Kansas Burned tallgrass, burned tallgrass pasture, cropland, tallgrass hayland, tallgrass pasture, woodland edge Nested in heavily grazed and recently burned (burned every 1-2 yr) pastures; nested in tallgrass prairie hay meadows; nest sites (0.25 m² around nests) had significantly less bare ground and greater live grass cover than areas 1-10 m around nests; mean vegetation variables at the nest site were 53% grass cover, 33 cm live grass height, 1% standing dead grass cover, 5 cm standing dead grass height, 13% forb cover, 23 cm live forb height, 0.2% live woody cover, 0.7 cm woody height, 16% bare soil cover, 17% litter cover, and 0.6% rock cover; mean nest distance from agricultural and woodland edges was about 67 m
Johnson 1997 North Dakota Burned mixed-grass, burned tame, idle mixed-grass Densities were depressed for 1 yr after burn, then increased until yr 5, then gradually declined
Johnson and Schwartz 1993 Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota Cropland, CRP (idle seeded-native, idle tame) Abundance was lower where legumes were more common
Johnson and Temple 1990 Minnesota Burned tallgrass, idle tallgrass, woodland edge Nest success was higher on large fragments (130-486 ha) than on small fragments (16-32 ha) and higher for nests located far (>45 m) from a wooded edge; nest depredation was lower on nests in recently (≤3 yr) burned areas; nest success decreased with increased number of growing seasons since vegetation was last burned
Kantrud 1981 North Dakota Mixed-grass hayland, mixed-grass pasture Occurred in lightly and moderately grazed areas; responded negatively to heavy grazing
Kantrud and Kologiski 1982 Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming Mixed-grass pasture, shortgrass pasture, shrubsteppe Used lightly grazed areas with typic ustoll soils; average vegetation height of these areas was 28 cm
Kendeigh 1941 Iowa Idle tallgrass (restored) Used native prairie grasses, was absent in stands of Kentucky bluegrass
Klute 1994, Klute et al. 1997 Kansas Burned tallgrass pasture, CRP (burned seeded-native) Were more abundant in annually burned grazed pastures than in annually burned native CRP fields; nested only in pastures
Koford 1999 Minnesota, North Dakota CRP (idle tame), Waterfowl Production Area (WPA; burned, hayland, idle native, idle native/tame, idle seeded-native, idle tame) Were more abundant in CRP than in WPA
Laubach 1984 Iowa Burned tallgrass, idle tallgrass Nested in shorter grasses and forbs; used fence posts as song perches; commonly nested in oat fields
Madden 1996 North Dakota Burned mixed-grass, burned tame, idle mixed-grass, idle tame Used areas with exotic grasses, low visual obstruction, low shrub cover, reduced vegetation density, high forb cover, and high grass cover compared to unused areas; used areas with 16 cm visual obstruction, 21% shrub cover, 26% forb cover, and 41% grass cover
McCoy et al. 1999 Missouri CRP (idle seeded-native, idle tame) Fecundity over 3 yr within CRP fields was high enough to support a stable population
McMaster and Davis 1998 Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan Cropland; Permanent Cover Program (PCP; idle tame, tame hayland, tame pasture) Were more common in PCP than in cropland; frequency of occurrence was higher in grazed PCP than in hayed PCP
McMaster et al. 1999 Saskatchewan Hayland, PCP (tame hayland) Amount of cropland or wetland within 1.6 km of study areas did not affect number of indicated pairs
Messmer 1990 North Dakota Idle mixed-grass/tame, mixed-grass/tame hayland, mixed-grass/tame pasture, wet-meadow pasture Preferred grazed over idle areas; density was highest on short-duration, twice-over rotation, and season-long grazing systems than on idle areas, although density decreased as litter increased on grazed areas
Patterson and Best 1996 Iowa Cropland; CRP (idle tame, tame hayland) Avoided row-crops, negatively correlated with vertical cover of vegetation; associated with moderate grass height (<50 cm) and vertical cover (<30 cm); avoided thick smooth brome stands; colonized mowed areas with shorter vegetation
Prescott and Wagner 1996 Alberta Mixed-grass pasture, tame pasture Were present only in tame pastures of crested wheatgrass grazed from late April to mid-June, and were absent from continuously grazed native pastures and from native pastures grazed in early summer and those grazed after 15 July
Renken 1983, Renken and Dinsmore 1987 North Dakota DNC (idle tame), idle mixed-grass, mixed-grass pasture Territories were located in areas with shorter vegetation than unused areas; mean vegetation values for used areas were: 62.4% grass cover, 26.4% forb cover, 99.1% litter cover, 6.9% shrub cover, 0.4% bare ground, 40 cm effective height, and 2.8 cm litter depth; was negatively correlated with litter depth and effective vegetation height
Robel et al. 1998 Kansas CRP (burned seeded-native, idle seeded-native) Were nonsignificantly more abundant on spring-burned than burned CRP fields
Rotenberry and Wiens 1980 Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming Idle mixed-grass, idle shortgrass, idle shrubsteppe, idle tallgrass, montane meadow Abundance was positively correlated with percent grass cover, percent litter cover, total number of vertical vegetation hits, effective vegetation height, and litter depth; abundance was negatively correlated with percent bare ground, amount of variation in litter depth, amount of variation in forb or shrub height, and the amount of variation in forb and shrub heights
Sample 1989 Wisconsin Burned tallgrass, cropland, DNC (idle seeded-native, idle tame), idle, idle seeded-native, idle tallgrass, idle tallgrass/tame, idle tame, tame hayland, tame pasture, tame savanna pasture, wet meadow, wet-meadow pasture Highest density were in native vegetation on dry prairie; used areas with 3% woody cover, 76% herbaceous cover, 16% litter cover, 8% bare ground, 57 cm maximum vegetation height, 14 cm vegetation height/density; used hayfields that are weedy, sparsely vegetated; avoided habitats with tall, dense vegetation; abundance was positively correlated with percent bare ground and plant species richness; abundance was negatively correlated with maximum vegetation height and vegetation height/density
Schneider 1998 North Dakota Mixed-grass pasture, tame pasture, wet- meadow pasture Abundance was positively associated with percent grass cover, litter depth, visual obstruction (vegetation height/density), density of low-growing shrubs (western snowberry [Symphoricarpos occidentalis] and silverberry [Elaeagnus commutata]), vegetation density, plant communities dominated by shrubs and introduced grasses (smooth brome, Kentucky bluegrass, and quackgrass [Agropyron repens]), and plant communities dominated by Kentucky bluegrass and native grass (Stipa, Bouteloua, Koeleria, and Schizachyrium); abundance was negatively associated with percent clubmoss (Selaginella densa) cover and with plant communities dominated solely by native grass; the strongest vegetational predictors of the presence of Grasshopper Sparrows were decreasing clubmoss cover, decreasing bare ground, and increasing litter
Smith 1963 Rangewide Cropland, hayland, idle, pasture Used cultivated grasslands, especially those with bunch-forming grasses; preferred relatively short and clumped grasses like orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata), alfalfa, red clover (Trifolium pratense), and bush clover (Lespedeza) for nesting
Smith 1968 Rangewide Cropland, hayland, idle, pasture Were abundant in managed grasslands, avoided areas with high shrub cover (>35%), occasionally used small-grain fields
Sutter and Brigham 1998 Saskatchewan Mixed-grass pasture, tame pasture No significant difference in abundance was found between lightly grazed mixed-grass prairie and lightly grazed stands of crested wheatgrass
Vickery et al. 1994 Maine Eastern grassland-barren burned, mowed, and/or sprayed with herbicides Abundance was positively correlated with higher grass cover, higher forb cover, and greater area
Volkert 1992 Wisconsin Burned tallgrass (restored), idle tallgrass (restored) Present 2 yr postseeding; highest densities observed 2-3 yr postburn, declining after burning occurred a second time
Whitmore 1979 West Virginia Idle tame Vegetation measurements during spring (near arrival date) were 29% basal area cover grass, 10% forb cover, 73% litter cover, 26% bare ground, 2 cm litter depth, 6 cm forb height, and 31 cm effective height (average maximum height of the leaf canopy). Vegetation measurements during peak breeding season were 5% basal area cover grass, 17% forb cover, 86% litter cover, 14% bare ground, 2 cm litter depth, 13 cm forb height, and 31 cm effective height
Whitmore 1981 West Virginia Idle tame Territories had 26% grass cover, 25% forb cover, 22% bare ground, mean herbaceous canopy height 44 cm; territories had sparser vegetation, lower percent grass, percent forb, shrub cover, vegetation height, and higher bare ground than non-territories
Wiens 1969 Wisconsin Idle pasture, tame pasture Unoccupied areas had lower forb density, greater forb height, vegetation density, and litter depth than occupied areas; used areas had 96% grass cover, 30% forb cover, 2% bare ground, and 41% effective cover <5 cm high; of 30 territories, mean distance from territory boundary to woods was 207.8 m, to fence line was 24.5 m, and to cultivated field was 82.8 m; 60% of territories included posts, 53% fence lines, 20% wire bales or tangles, and 10% trees
Wiens 1970 Colorado Shortgrass pasture Used heavily winter-grazed plots, but not heavily summer-grazed plots Areas used within winter-grazed pastures were characterized by 0.50 cm effective vegetation height; 0.4 cm litter depth; 87% percent grass cover; no forb, woody or cactus cover; 12% bare ground; and 34% litter cover
Wiens 1973 Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas Idle mixed-grass, idle shortgrass, mixed-grass pasture, semidesert shrubsteppe pasture, shortgrass pasture, tallgrass pasture Preferred sites with tall, emergent (i.e., extends above overall canopy) vegetation, and a high proportion of plant material >10 cm high. In tallgrass pasture, occupied grazed areas with relatively shorter vegetation, less litter, and a higher density of forbs than unused areas; mean vegetation values for grazed, occupied areas were: percent cover: 95% grass, 20% forb, 4% rock, and 0% woody, cactus, and bare ground; stem density in individuals/m²:1003 forb, 0 woody, and 0 cactus; 51% open sky at ground level; litter: 1.19 cm deep, 57% cover; 15.2 cm emergent vegetation height; 44% density <10 cm (proportion of all vegetation contacts occurring within 10 cm of the ground); and 7.2 cm effective height
Wilson and Belcher 1989 Manitoba Idle mixed-grass, idle tame Was positively correlated with introduced Kentucky bluegrass, negatively correlated with native species Junegrass (Koeleria cristata)
Winter 1998 Missouri Burned tallgrass, idle tallgrass, tallgrass hayland Density decreased with increasing vegetation height and amount of woody cover; vegetation structure had more of an effect on density than fragment size

* In an effort to standardize terminology among studies, various descriptors were used to denote the management or type of habitat. "Idle" used as a modifier (e.g., idle tallgrass) denotes undisturbed or unmanaged (e.g., not burned, mowed, or grazed) areas. "Idle" by itself denotes unmanaged areas in which the plant species were not mentioned. Examples of "idle" habitats include weedy or fallow areas (e.g., oldfields), fencerows, grassed waterways, terraces, ditches, and road rights-of-way. "Tame" denotes introduced plant species (e.g., smooth brome [Bromus inermis]) that are not native to North American prairies. "Hayland" refers to any habitat that was mowed, regardless of whether the resulting cut vegetation was removed. "Burned" includes habitats that were burned intentionally or accidentally or those burned by natural forces (e.g., lightning). In situations where there are two or more descriptors (e.g., idle tame hayland), the first descriptor modifies the following descriptors. For example, idle tame hayland is habitat that is usually mowed annually but happened to be undisturbed during the year of the study.


Literature Cited

Arnold, T. W., and K. F. Higgins. 1986. Effects of shrub coverages on birds of North Dakota mixed-grass prairies. Canadian Field-Naturalist 100:10-14.

Basore, N. S., L. B. Best, and J. B. Wooley. 1986. Bird nesting in Iowa no-tillage and tilled cropland. Journal of Wildlife Management 50:19-28.

Bent, A. C. 1968. Life histories of north American cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings, towhees, finches, sparrows and allies. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, New York.

Berkey, G., R. Crawford, S. Galipeau, D. Johnson, D. Lambeth, and R. Kreil. 1993. A review of wildlife management practices in North Dakota: effects on nongame bird populations and habitats. Report submitted to Region 6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado. 51 pages.

Berthelsen, P. S., and L. M. Smith. 1995. Nongame bird nesting on CRP lands in Texas Southern High Plains. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 50:672-675.

Best, L. B., H. Campa, III, K. E. Kemp, R. J. Robel, M. R. Ryan, J. A. Savidge, H. P. Weeks, Jr., and S. R. Winterstein. 1997. Bird abundance and nesting in CRP fields and cropland in the Midwest: a regional approach. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25:864-877.

Birkenholz, D. E. 1973. Habitat relationships of grassland birds at Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve. Pages 63-66 in L. C. Hulbert, editor. Proceedings of the Third Midwest Prairie Conference. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

Blankespoor, G. W. 1980. Prairie restoration: effects on nongame birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:667-672.

Bock, C. E., and J. H. Bock. 1987. Avian habitat occupancy following fire in a Montana shrubsteppe. Prairie Naturalist 19:153-158.

Bock, C. E., J. H. Bock, and B. C. Bennett. 1999. Songbird abundance in grasslands at a suburban interface on the Colorado High Plains. Pages 131-136 in P. D. Vickery and J. R. Herkert, editors. Ecology and conservation of grassland birds of the Western Hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology 19.

Bock, C. E., J. H. Bock, W. R. Kenney, and V. M. Hawthorne. 1984. Responses of birds, rodents, and vegetation to livestock exclosure in a semidesert grassland site. Journal of Range Management 37:239-242.

Bock, C. E., V. A. Saab, T. D. Rich, and D. S. Dobkin. 1993. Effects of livestock grazing on Neotropical migratory landbirds western North America. Pages 296-309 in D. M. Finch, and P. W. Stangel, editors. Status and management of Neotropical migratory birds. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-229.

Bock, C. E., and B. Webb. 1984. Birds as grazing indicator species in southeastern Arizona. Journal of Wildlife Management 48:1045-1049.

Bollinger, E. K. 1988. Breeding dispersion and reproductive success of Bobolinks in an agricultural landscape. Ph.D. dissertation. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. 189 pages.

Bollinger, E. K. 1995. Successional changes and habitat selection in hayfield bird communities. Auk 112:720-730.

Bollinger, E. K., and T. A. Gavin. 1992. Eastern Bobolink populations: ecology and conservation in an agricultural landscape. Pages 497-506 in J. M. Hagan, III, and D. W. Johnston, editors. Ecology and conservation of Neotropical migrant landbirds. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Bryan, G. G., and L. B. Best. 1994. Avian nest density and success in grassed waterways in Iowa rowcrop fields. Wildlife Society Bulletin 22:583-592.

Davis, S. K., and D. C. Duncan. 1999. Grassland songbird abundance in native and crested wheatgrass pastures of southern Saskatchewan. Pages 211-218 in J. Herkert and P. Vickery, editors. Ecology and conservation of grassland birds of the Western Hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology 19.

Davis, S. K., and S. G. Sealy. 2000. Cowbird parasitism and nest predation in fragmented grasslands of southwestern Manitoba. Pages 220-228 in J. N. M. Smith, T. L. Cook, S. I. Rothstein, S. K. Robinson, and S. G. Sealy, editors. Ecology and management of cowbirds and their hosts. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Delisle, J. M. 1995. Avian use of fields enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program in southeast Nebraska. M.S. thesis. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. 38 pages.

Delisle, J. M., and J. A. Savidge. 1997. Avian use and vegetation characteristics of conservation reserve program fields. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:318-325.

Ducey, J., and L. Miller. 1980. Birds of an agricultural community. Nebraska Bird Review 48:58-68.

Elliott, P. F. 1976. The role of community factors in cowbird-host interactions. Ph.D. dissertation. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. 62 pages.

Elliott, P. F. 1978. Cowbird parasitism in the Kansas tall grass prairie. Auk 95:161-167.

Faanes, C. A., and G. R. Lingle. 1995. Breeding birds of the Platte River Valley of Nebraska. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/birds/platte/platte.htm (Version 16JUL97).

Forde, J. E., N. F. Sloan, and D. A. Shown. 1984. Grassland habitat management using prescribed burning in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Prairie Naturalist 16:97-110.

Frawley, B. J. 1989. The dynamics of nongame bird breeding ecology in Iowa alfalfa fields. M.S. thesis. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. 94 pages.

Frawley, B. J., and L. B. Best. 1991. Effects of mowing on breeding bird abundance and species composition in alfalfa fields. Wildlife Society Bulletin 19:135-142.

George, J. L. 1952. The birds on a southern Michigan farm. Ph.D. thesis. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 413 pages.

Griebel, R. L., S. L. Winter, and A. A. Steuter. 1998. Grassland birds and habitat structure in sandhills prairie management using cattle or bison plus fire. Great Plains Research 8:255-268.

Gruver, B. J., and F. S. Guthery. 1986. Effects of brush control and gamebird management on nongame birds. Journal of Range Management 39:251-253.

Harrison, K. G. 1974. Aspects of habitat selection in grassland birds. M.S. thesis. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. 82 pages.

Helzer, C. J. 1996. The effects of wet meadow fragmentation on grassland birds. M.S. thesis. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. 65 pages.

Helzer, C. J., and D. E. Jelinski. 1999. The relative importance of patch area and perimeter-area ratio to grassland breeding birds. Ecological Applications 9:1448-1458.

Herkert, J. R. 1991. An ecological study of the breeding birds of grassland habitats within Illinois. Ph.D. thesis. University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois. 112 pages.

Herkert, J. R. 1994a. Breeding bird communities of midwestern prairie fragments: the effects of prescribed burning and habitat-area. Natural Areas Journal 14:128-135.

Herkert, J. R. 1994b. The effects of habitat fragmentation on midwestern grassland bird communities. Ecological Applications 4:461-471.

Horn, D. J., and R. R. Koford. 2000. Relation of grassland bird abundance to mowing of Conservation Reserve Program fields in North Dakota. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:653-659.

Huber, G. E., and A. A. Steuter. 1984. Vegetation profile and grassland bird response to spring burning. Prairie Naturalist 16:55-61.

Hull, S. D., R. J. Robel, and K. E. Kemp. 1996. Summer avian abundance, invertebrate biomass, and forbs in Kansas CRP. Prairie Naturalist 28:1-12.

Jensen, W. E. 1999. Nesting habitat and responses to habitat edges of three grassland passerine species. M.S. thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. 58 pages.

Johnson, D. H. 1997. Effects of fire on bird populations in mixed-grass prairie. Pages 181-206 in F. L. Knopf and F. B. Samson, editors. Ecology and conservation of Great Plains vertebrates. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York.

Johnson, D. H., and M. D. Schwartz. 1993. The Conservation Reserve Program: habitat for grassland birds. Great Plains Research 3:273-295.

Johnson, R. G., and S. A. Temple. 1986. Assessing habitat quality for birds nesting in fragmented tallgrass prairies. Pages 245-249 in J. Verner, M. L. Morrison, and C. J. Ralph, editors. Wildlife 2000: modeling habitat relationships of terrestrial vertebrates. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin.

Johnson, R. G., and S. A. Temple. 1990. Nest predation and brood parasitism of tallgrass prairie birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 54:106-111.

Kahl, R. B., T. S. Baskett, J. A. Ellis, and J. N. Burroughs. 1985. Characteristics of summer habitats of selected nongame birds in Missouri. Research Bulletin 1056. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.

Kantrud, H. A. 1981. Grazing intensity effects on the breeding avifauna of North Dakota native grasslands. Canadian Field-Naturalist 95:404-417.

Kantrud, H. A., and R. L. Kologiski. 1982. Effects of soils and grazing on breeding birds of uncultivated upland grasslands of the northern Great Plains. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Research Report 15. 33 pages.

Kendeigh, S. C. 1941. Birds of a prairie community. Condor 43:165-174.

Klute, D. S. 1994. Avian community structure, reproductive success, vegetative structure, and food availability in burned Conservation Reserve Program fields and grazed pastures in northeastern Kansas. M.S. thesis. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. 168 pages.

Klute, D. S., R. J. Robel, and K. E. Kemp. 1997. Will conversion of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to pasture be detrimental for grassland birds in Kansas? American Midland Naturalist 137:206-212.

Knapton, R. W. 1979. Birds of the Gainsborough-Lyleton region. Saskatchewan Natural History Society Special Publication 10. 72 pages.

Koford, R. R. 1999. Density and fledging success of grassland birds in Conservation Reserve Program fields in North Dakota and west-central Minnesota. Pages 187-195 in P. D. Vickery and J. R. Herkert, editors. Ecology and conservation of grassland birds of the Western Hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology 19.

Koford, R. R., and L. B. Best. 1996. Management of agricultural landscapes for the conservation of Neotropical migratory birds. Pages 68-88 in F. Thompson, III, editor. Management of agricultural landscapes for the conservation of Neotropical migratory birds. U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report NC-187. North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Laubach, R. 1984. Breeding birds of Sheeder Prairie Preserve, West-central Iowa. Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science 91:153-163.

Madden, E. M. 1996. Passerine communities and bird-habitat relationships on prescribe-burned, mixed-grass prairie in North Dakota. M.S. thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. 153 pages.

Madden, E. M., A. J. Hansen, and R. K. Murphy. 1999. Influence of prescribed fire history on habitat and abundance of passerine birds in northern mixed-grass prairie. Canadian Field-Naturalist 113:627-640.

McCoy, T. D., M. R. Ryan, E. W. Kurzejeski, and L. W. Burger, Jr. 1999. Conservation reserve program: source or sink habitat for grassland birds in Missouri? Journal of Wildlife Management 63:530-538.

McMaster, D. G., and S. K. Davis. 1998. Non-game evaluation of the Permanent Cover Program. Unpublished report. Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation, Regina, Saskatchewan. 75+ pages.

McMaster, D. G., J. H. Devries, and S. K. Davis. 1999. An integrated evaluation of cropland conversion in the Missouri Coteau of Saskatchewan: productivity of pintail and other grassland birds. Unpublished report. Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation, Regina, Saskatchewan; Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba; Ducks Unlimited Canada, Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba.

Messmer, T. A. 1990. Influence of grazing treatments on nongame birds and vegetation structure in south central North Dakota. Ph.D. dissertation. North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota. 164 pages.

National Geographic Society. 1987. Field guide to the birds of North America, second edition. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 464 pages.

O'Leary, C. H., and D. W. Nyberg. 2000. Treelines between fields reduce the density of grassland birds. Natural Areas Journal 20:243-249.

Patterson, M. P., and L. B. Best. 1996. Bird abundance and nesting success in Iowa CRP fields: the importance of vegetation structure and composition. American Midland Naturalist 135:153-167.

Prescott, D. R. C. 1997. Avian communities and NAWMP habitat priorities in the northern Prairie biome of Alberta. NAWMP-029. Land Stewardship Centre of Canada, St. Albert, Alberta. 41 pages.

Prescott, D. R. C., and G. M. Wagner. 1996. Avian responses to implementation of a complementary/rotational grazing system by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan in southern Alberta: the Medicine Wheel Project. NAWMP-018. Alberta NAWMP Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. 24 pages.

Renken, R. B. 1983. Breeding bird communities and bird-habitat associations on North Dakota waterfowl production areas of three habitat types. M.S. thesis. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. 90 pages.

Renken, R. B., and J. J. Dinsmore. 1987. Nongame bird communities on managed grasslands in North Dakota. Canadian Field-Naturalist 101:551-557.

Rodenhouse, N. L., L. B. Best, R. J. O'Connor, and E. K. Bollinger. 1995. Effects of agricultural practices and farmland structures on Neotropical migratory birds. Pages 269-293 in T. E. Martin, and D. M. Finch, editors. Ecology and management of Neotropical migratory birds: a synthesis and review of critical issues. Oxford University Press, New York, New York.

Rohrbaugh, R. W. Jr., D. L. Reinking, D. H. Wolfe, S. K. Sherrod, and M. A. Jenkins. 1999. Effects of prescribed burning and grazing on nesting and reproductive success of three grassland passerine species in tallgrass prairie. Pages 165-170 in P. D. Vickery and J. R. Herkert, editors. Ecology and conservation of grassland birds of the Western Hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology 19.

Rotenberry, J. T., and J. A. Wiens. 1980. Habitat structure, patchiness, and avian communities in North American steppe vegetation: a multivariate analysis. Ecology 61:1228-1250.

Sample, D. W. 1989. Grassland birds in southern Wisconsin: habitat preference, population trends, and response to land use changes. M.S. thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. 588 pages.

Schneider, N. A. 1998. Passerine use of grasslands managed with two grazing regimes on the Missouri Coteau in North Dakota. M.S. thesis. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota. 94 pages.

Shaffer, J. A., C. M. Goldade, M. F. Dinkins, D. H. Johnson, L. D. Igl, and B. R. Euliss. 2003. Brown-headed Cowbirds in grasslands: their habitats, hosts, and response to management. Prairie Naturalist 35:146-186.

Skinner, R. M. 1974. Grassland use patterns and prairie bird populations in Missouri. M.A. thesis. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. 53 pages.

Skipper, C. S. 1998. Henslow's Sparrows return to previous nest site in western Maryland. North American Bird Bander 23:36-41.

Smith, R. L. 1963. Some ecological notes on the Grasshopper Sparrow. Wilson Bulletin 75:159-165.

Smith, R. L. 1968. Grasshopper Sparrow. Pages 725-745 in O. L. Austin, Jr., editor. Life histories of North American cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings, towhees, finches, sparrows, and allies, Part 2. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, New York.

Stallman, H. R., and L. B. Best. 1996. Bird use of an experimental strip intercropping system in northeast Iowa. Journal of Wildlife Management 60:354-362.

Stewart, R. E. 1975. Breeding birds of North Dakota. Tri-College Center for Environmental Studies, Fargo, North Dakota. 295 pages.

Swengel, S. R. 1996. Management responses of three species of declining sparrows in tallgrass prairie. Bird Conservation International 6:241-253.

Sutter, G. C. and R. M. Brigham. 1998. Avifaunal and habitat changes resulting from conversion of native prairie to crested wheatgrass: patterns at songbird community and species levels. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76: 869-875.

Temple, S. A., B. M. Fevold, L. K. Paine, D. J. Undersander, and D. W. Sample. 1999. Nesting birds and grazing cattle: accommodating both on midwestern pastures. Pages 196-202 in P. D. Vickery and J. R. Herkert, editors. Ecology and conservation of grassland birds of the Western Hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology 19.

Vickery, P. D. 1993. Habitat selection of grassland birds in Maine. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Maine, Orono, Maine. 124 pages.

Vickery, P. D. 1996. Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). In A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The birds of North America, 239. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D. C. 24 pages.

Vickery, P. D., M. L. Hunter, Jr., and S. M. Melvin. 1994. Effects of habitat area on the distribution of grassland birds in Maine. Conservation Biology 8:1087-1097.

Vickery, P. D., M. L. Hunter, Jr., and J. V. Wells. 1992. Use of a new reproductive index to evaluate relationship between habitat quality and breeding success. Auk 109:697-705.

Volkert, W. K. 1992. Response of grassland birds to a large-scale prairie planting project. Passenger Pigeon 54:190-196.

Whitmore, R. C. 1979. Temporal variation in the selected habitats of a guild of grassland sparrows. Wilson Bulletin 91:592-598.

Whitmore, R. C. 1980. Reclaimed surface mines as avian habitat islands in the eastern forest. American Birds 34:13-14.

Whitmore, R. C. 1981. Structural characteristics of Grasshopper Sparrow habitat. Journal of Wildlife Management 45:811-814.

Wiens, J. A. 1969. An approach to the study of ecological relationships among grassland birds. Ornithological Monographs 8:1-93.

Wiens, J. A. 1970. Avian populations and patterns of habitat occupancy at the Pawnee site, 1968-1969. U.S. International Biological Program, Grassland Biome Technical Report 63. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 57 pages.

Wiens, J. A. 1973. Pattern and process in grassland bird communities. Ecological Monographs 43:237-270.

Wilson, S. D., and J. W. Belcher. 1989. Plant and bird communities of native prairie and introduced Eurasian vegetation in Manitoba, Canada. Conservation Biology 3:39-44.

Winter, M. 1998. Effect of habitat fragmentation on grassland-nesting birds in southwestern Missouri. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. 215 pages.

Winter, M., and J. Faaborg. 1999. Patterns of area sensitivity in grassland-nesting birds. Conservation Biology 13:1424-1436.

Zimmerman, J. L. 1992. Density-independent factors affecting the avian diversity of the tallgrass prairie community. Wilson Bulletin 104:85-94.

Zimmerman, J. L. 1993. Birds of Konza: the avian ecology of the tallgrass prairie. University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas. 186 pages.

Zimmerman, J. L. 1997. Avian community responses to fire, grazing, and drought in the tallgrass prairie. Pages 167-180 in F. L. Knopf and F. B. Samson, editors. Ecology and conservation of Great Plains vertebrates. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/literatr/grasbird/grsp/grsp.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 05:39:39 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]