Nesting ecology of grassland birds following a wildfire in the southern Great Plains

Southwestern Naturalist
By: , and 

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Abstract

We studied the response of nesting grassland birds occupying short-grass and mixed-grass prairie sites 2 and 3 y following two, large-scale wildfires that burned ≥360,000 ha in the Texas Panhandle in March 2006. Nest success was greater on burned plots compared to unburned plots, though this varied by species and year. Woody vegetation cover was greater around nests on unburned plots compared to burned plots for Cassin's sparrow (Peucaea cassinii) and lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Cassin's sparrows and lark sparrows nested in more-woody vegetation than did grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum), and woody vegetation was reduced following the wildfires. The wildfires appear to have had few if any negative influences on the avian community 3 years postfire. This may be due to grassland breeding birds being adapted to landscapes in which, historically, periodic disturbance (e.g., wildfire, intensive grazing by bison [Bison bison]) resulted in vegetation heterogeneity.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nesting ecology of grassland birds following a wildfire in the southern Great Plains
Series title Southwestern Naturalist
DOI 10.1894/0038-4909-62.1.39
Volume 62
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 7 p.
First page 39
Last page 45
Country United States
State Texas