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1 April 2011 Grassland Birds and Rotational-Grazing in the Northeast: Breeding Ecology, Survival and Management Opportunities
Noah G. Perlut, Allan M. Strong
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We studied long-term (2002–2009) demographics of bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) and savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) breeding in rotationally grazed systems in the northeastern United States. Both nest success (6–44% bobolink; 7–48% savannah sparrow) and annual productivity (0.43–2.83 bobolink; 0.70–2.35 savannah sparrow) varied annually. Predation (48%) and trampling by cows (32%) accounted for most failed nests. Annual adult apparent survival ranged from 23% to 85% and showed substantial variation by species and sex. Although grazing resulted in substantial loss of vegetative cover, savannah sparrows responded similarly to predation and grazing-induced nest failure (time to renest, distance moved between nests) and generally remained in the same paddock to renest. Minimum paddock size to accommodate one female within this rotation was 70 m × 70 m (0.49 ha), allowing a female to stay within a paddock and move (approx. 50 m) between nesting attempts. To balance pasturing objectives and birds' needs in paddocks first grazed before 25 June, managers in the Northeast should rest that paddock 42–50 days before the second grazing.

© 2011 The Wildlife Society.
Noah G. Perlut and Allan M. Strong "Grassland Birds and Rotational-Grazing in the Northeast: Breeding Ecology, Survival and Management Opportunities," Journal of Wildlife Management 75(3), 715-720, (1 April 2011).
Received: 13 April 2010; Accepted: 1 July 2010; Published: 1 April 2011

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apparent survival
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
grassland birds
northeastern United States
Passerculus sandwichensis
pasture management
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