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During 1982-1985, the effects of single spring and fall burn treatments on ground nesting birds and residual cover were studied on five paired areas of native mixed-grass prairie in northwestern Stutsman County, ND. Annually, visual obstruction readings to index the height-density of residual cover were taken once and nest searches were made four times on each area. Residual nesting cover on fall burn plots averaged taller and denser than on spring burn plots during post-fire growing years 2-4. A total of 259 duck nests and 63 nests of non-passerine birds were found during the four years. Duck nesting success was significantly greater (P < 0.05) in fall burn plots than in spring burn plots for all species and years combined. Too few nests of other bird species were found for valid comparisons. Results suggest that vegetation structure and duck nesting response to spring and fall burns became similar again by the third post-fire growing season.
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A comparison of burn season effects on nesting birds in North Dakota mixed-grass prairie