Dickcissels and Restored Grasslands

There are more dickcissels (Spiza americana) on grasslands restored with native grasses and they nest more frequently than on grasslands with exotic grasses, a study reported in the most recent issue of The Southwestern Naturalist found, but the rate of nesting success on the restored grasslands was not significantly higher.

Dickcissels are in steep decline, particularly in the heart of their range. Restoring grasslands with native species seems like a good way to slow their population decline. This paper suggests that other factors may be as important as whether the grasses in the grassland are native or exotic, such as the size of the grassland and the height of the grasses, but that overall, dickcissel nesting is more productive at restored sites .

Read the paper here (subscription or fee required to read the full text).
A little digging found that this paper is based on a master’s thesis. Read it here.

Photo: Dickcissel by Steve Maslowski, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service


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