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1 April 2005 Breeding biology of Henslow's Sparrows on reclaimed coal mine grasslands in Kentucky
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Abstract

Populations of Henslow's Sparrows (Ammodramus henslowii) are declining, and loss of habitat is a likely factor. Coal mine reclamation has created grassland habitat in Kentucky and elsewhere, and information is needed concerning the use of these areas by Henslow's Sparrows. We compared the behavior and ecology of populations on reclaimed sites and non-mined sites in west-central Kentucky during the 2000 and 2001 breeding seasons. Territories were smaller on the reclaimed sites than unmined sites, perhaps due to differences in habitat quality. Insect sweeps revealed more prey biomass on reclaimed sites than unmined sites. Twenty-eight of 48 nests (58%) fledged at least one young, and nesting success was similar on reclaimed and unmined sites. Mean clutch size was 3.75, with no difference between reclaimed and unmined sites. Similarly, the mean number of fledglings per nest was similar on reclaimed and unmined sites. Multivariate analysis revealed differences in the characteristics of vegetation on reclaimed areas and unmined areas. Reclaimed areas had more grass cover and greater vegetation density, probably due to differences in management history (i.e., mowing or burning) and species composition. Our results indicate that the nesting success of Henslow's Sparrows on reclaimed surface mines in Kentucky is comparable to that on unmined areas. As such, the thousand of hectares of reclaimed surface mines in Kentucky and elsewhere could play an important role in stabilizing populations of Henslow's Sparrows.

Mark S. Monroe and Gary Ritchison "Breeding biology of Henslow's Sparrows on reclaimed coal mine grasslands in Kentucky," Journal of Field Ornithology 76(2), (1 April 2005). https://doi.org/10.1648/0273-8570-76.2.143
Received: 29 January 2004; Accepted: 1 August 2004; Published: 1 April 2005
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