Short-term responses of breeding birds of grassland and early successional habitat to the timing of haying in northwestern Arkansas

  • Published source details Luscier J.D. & Thompson W.L. (2009) Short-term responses of breeding birds of grassland and early successional habitat to the timing of haying in northwestern Arkansas. The Condor, 111, 538-544.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Delay haying/mowing

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Delay haying/mowing

    A replicated, controlled study in Arkensas, USA, in 2003 (Luscier & Thompson 2009) found that a far higher percentage of grassland bird nests were destroyed by haying operations in two early-cut fields (cut from 26-31 May), compared to four late-cut fields (cut 17-26 June) (88% of 17 nests destroyed in early-cut fields vs. 4% of 52 nests destroyed in late-cut fields). The two surviving nests in early-cut fields did not fledge any chicks. Following early cutting, only one nest was started in early cut fields (0.03 nests/ha) compared with 0.13 nests/ha in uncut fields (seven nests) and 0.13 nests/ha in late-cut fields (11 nests). Nests were of dickcissel Spiza americana (32 nests), red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoniceus (30 nests), field sparrow Spizella pusilla (14 nests) and eastern meadowlark Sturnella magna (13 nests) and nest densities were similar across field types before haying (0.3-0.5 nests/ha).


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