Tuesday, August 5, 2008 - 1:30 PM

COS 37-1: Avian community composition within tallgrass plantings and pastures in the Upper Green River watershed, Kentucky

Aaron Hulsey, Wayne Mason, Cabrina L. Hamilton, and Albert J. Meier. Western Kentucky University


Grassland bird species have declined since 1967. We are working to
detect the influences of fescue-dominate pastures and Conservation
Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) tall grass plantings on grassland
and neotropical songbirds in Kentucky’s Upper Green River watershed.
We conducted summer avian surveys on nine experimental treatment sites
(CREP) and ten control treatment sites (pasture). Surveys were
conducted along transects about 50-m wide with the length of transects
varying among sites. Bird species were tallied if they were observed
perched in the site, confirmed calling in the site, if a nest with
eggs/ young was found in the site, or if the species was observed
feeding directly over the site. Birds at the site edge were not
included in the analysis. Unpaired T-tests were used to analyze the


Results showed that ten of 35 species found in the 19 sites were found
significantly more often in CREP sites than in pasture sites. Several
of these species are of particular conservation concern, including the
northern bobwhite. Three species were found significantly more often
in pasture sites than in CREP sites. Additionally, CREP sites
contained higher mean species richness than pastures. Analyses of
winter bird surveys are currently being conducted.