In 2003, we evaluated nest survival and density of the Dickcissel (Spiza americana), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla), and Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) in four unhayed, two early-hayed (26-31 May) and three late-hayed (17-25 June) fields in northwestern Arkansas. Rope dragging and observations revealed 89 nests. Daily nest-survival rates (SE) prior to haying ranged from 0.94 (0.03) to 0.97 (0.02). Early haying affected both nest-survival rates and bird densities negatively, whereas late haying had minimal effects. Fifteen nests in hayed portions of early-hayed fields were destroyed, whereas only 2 of 52 nests were affected by late haying. Density was at least 0.98 birds ha-1 higher in unhayed than in early-hayed fields and 1.03 birds ha-1 higher in late-hayed than in early-hayed fields. In northwestern Arkansas, postponing haying until mid- to late June would allow time for nestlings to fledge, would have little effect on bird densities, and would affect hay nutrition and regrowth minimally. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society, 2009.
Additional publication details
Short-Term responses of breeding birds of grassland and early successional habitat to timing of haying in Northwestern Arkansas