The effects of farm field borders on overwintering sparrow densities

  • Published source details Marcus J.F., Palmer W.E. & Bromley P.T. (2000) The effects of farm field borders on overwintering sparrow densities. The Wilson Bulletin, 112, 517-523.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields for birds

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields for birds

    A replicated, controlled study in February 1997 and 1998 on eight arable farms in North Carolina, USA (Marcus et al. 2000), found that sparrow species were significantly more abundant on farms with uncultivated field margins (set up in 1996) than on those with mown field edges (34-36 sparrows/ha for uncultivated margins vs. 6-21 sparrows/ha for mowed edges). In addition, uncultivated field margins contained three species (white-throated sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis, field sparrow Spizella pusilla and chipping sparrow S. passerina) not found in mowed edges; all four species found in mowed edges (savannah sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis, song sparrow Melospiza melodia, swamp sparrow M. georgiana and dark-eyed junco Junco hyemalis) were also found in uncultivated field margins. In total, 93% of birds detected in field edges were sparrows.


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