Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Citizen's Guide: Guidelines for Migratory Birds on Grasslands [I'd Love to Save the World]

The next set of guidelines for protecting migratory bird habitat focus on grasslands. As Nate pointed out in an earlier comment, grassland habitats (and therefore the birds that utilize them) are often overlooked as a habitat to protect. Our focus often turns to wetlands, forests, riparian zones, and coastal areas; thankfully, the Citizen's Guide leaves no stone, or blade of grass, unturned. As always, your thoughts and suggestions welcome and encouraged.

The Citizen's Guide to Migratory Bird Conservation
Guidelines for Protecting Migratory Bird Habitat:
Guidelines for Conservation of Migratory Birds on Grasslands

1. Avoid fragmenting existing grassland tracts. The larger the grassland, the greater the number of area-sensitive species, such as Upland Sandpiper and Henslow's Sparrow, that will be able to nest successfully in the area.

2. When restoring grasslands, minimize the amount of edge habitat by designing roughly circular or square plots. Such programs should use native grasses and local seed sources. Determining the species that should occur at a given site may require research.

3. To benefit area-sensitive birds, we believe that plots should be no smaller than 125 acres, and preferably 250 acres or more. Fifty acres or less will benefit birds that are the least sensitive to area size (such as Dickcissel or Red-winged Blackbird).

4. If plots smaller than 50 acres are the only option, we recommend that they be as numerous as possible and no farther apart than one mile.

5. Monitor grass height. Eliminate woody vegetation that grows higher than native grasses.

6. Grassland evolved with regular burning. Learn about prescribed burns and evaluate the possibility of instituting this practice.

Peter Dunne, Richard Kane, and Paul Kerlinger, New Jersey Audubon Society,
P.O. Box 693, Bernardsville, NJ 07294

This section has been excerpted in its entirety. Author information and article text current as of 1995.

Dunne, P., R. Kane, and P. Kerlinger. 1995. Citizen's Guide to Migratory Bird Conservation, Bonney, R., S. Carlson, and M. Fischer, eds. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.


1 comment:

nishiki_85 said...


Thanks for sharing. This should be required reading for the Brighton city council (Ontario) before they decide on a gravel pit proposal in their township. 259 acres of land would be lost, threatening a small breeding population of Golden-winged Warblers. The decision process could still take 2-3 years.



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