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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of prescribed burning and mowing on shrubland and grassland songbirds on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA

Published source details

Zuckerberg B. & Vickery P.D. (2006) Effects of mowing and burning on shrubland and grassland birds on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 118, 353-363


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Mow or cut natural grasslands Bird Conservation

A controlled study in 1999-2001 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA (Zuckerberg & Vickery 2006), found that song sparrows Melospiza melodia were significantly less abundant on mown grasslands (between one and three cuts annually), compared to controls (1 bird/10 ha on mown grasslands vs. 6 birds/10 ha on controls). There was no significant difference between mown and burned grasslands. Savannah sparrows Passerculus sandwichensis were equally abundant (7-9 birds/10 ha) on all treatments.

 

Manually control or remove midstorey and ground-level vegetation (including mowing, chaining, cutting etc) in shrubland Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1999-2001 in 14 areas of shrublands on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA (Zuckerberg & Vickery 2006), found that eastern towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus and common yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas were significantly less common in areas that had been mown, compared with controls and burned areas (towhees: 0.7 birds/ha vs. 1.1 for control areas and 1.4 for burned areas; yellowthroats: <0.1 birds/ha vs. 0.40 for control and burned areas). Areas mown twice in a season had even fewer towhees (0.5 birds/ha) and no yellowthroats. Song sparrows Melospiza melodia were equally abundant on mown areas and other treatments (0.3 birds/ha for mown areas vs. 0.40 for controls and burned areas).

 

Use prescribed burning on shrublands Bird Conservation

A controlled study in 1999-2001 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA (Zuckerberg & Vickery 2006), found that eastern towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus and common yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas were significantly more abundant in burned areas of shrubland than in mown areas. Towhees (but not yellowthroats) were also more common in burned areas than controls (towhees: 1.4 birds/ha for burned areas vs. 1.1 for control areas; yellowthroats: 0.4 for both control and burned areas). Song sparrows Melospiza melodia were not significantly more abundant on burned areas than on control or mown areas (0.3 birds/ha for mown areas vs. 0.4 for controls and burned areas).

 

Use prescribed burning on grasslands Bird Conservation

A controlled study in 1999-2001 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA (Zuckerberg & Vickery 2006), found that song sparrows Melospiza melodia were significantly less abundant on burned grasslands, compared to controls (0.1 birds/ha on burned grasslands vs. 0.6 on controls). There was no significant difference between burned and mown grasslands. Savannah sparrows were equally abundant (0.7-0.9 birds/ha) on all treatments.