Monday, June 3 • 1:00pm - 1:25pm
The Effects of Bison Reintroduction on the Grassland Bird Community in Tallgrass prairie LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Tallgrass prairie has been converted to agriculture over the past century, making it one of the most threatened ecosystems globally. Agriculture conversion of prairie has severely fragmented the landscape and many grassland birds are now in decline and threatened with extirpation. Restoration projects have sought to increase the quality and size of prairie fragments, hypothetically increasing breeding habitat for grassland birds. Bison and other grazers are now being reintroduced to prairie restorations as a final step in a complete restoration to increase habitat heterogeneity. The goal of our study was to understand how tallgrass prairie restoration practices (recent bison reintroduction and prescribed fire) at Nachusa Grasslands influence the detection frequency of five grassland birds, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, and Henslow’s Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, and Brown-headed Cowbird. We predicted these management techniques would impact species that were known to increase or decrease from other studies, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, and Henslow’s Sparrow. We used remote sensing technology to record the communities in four plantings and two remnant sites (half with bison and half without) from 2016-2018. Bison and prescribed fire increased the detection of Grasshopper Sparrows. Henslow’s Sparrows were detected less often in areas burned. The detection of Dickcissels, Eastern Meadowlarks, Brown-headed Cowbirds were not influenced by these management techniques. Long-term research is needed to help understand how these restoration practices are influencing this higher trophic level and how they can be altered to help these declining species.


Heather Herakovich

Northern Illinois University

Monday June 3, 2019 1:00pm - 1:25pm
Room 1218

Attendees (16)