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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Four native sparrow species exhibit poor reproductive success on reclaimed surface coal mine grassland at Valley Point, West Virginia, USA

Published source details

Wray II T., Strait K.A. & Whitmore R.C. (1982) Reproductive success of grassland sparrows on a reclaimed surface mine in West Virginia. The Auk, 99, 157-164

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Restore or create grasslands Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1978-1980 on a 41.5 ha reclaimed coal mine site in West Virginia, USA (Wray et al. 1982), found that clutch sizes of grasshopper, savannah Passerculus sandwichensis, vesper Pooecetes gramineus and field sparrows Spizella pusilla were similar to those reported for natural grasslands but nest predation rates were high and the main cause of nest failure in all years. Of 185 nests located, 80 (43%) were thought to be predated. Thus, although providing new habitat, low reproductive success suggests that the grassland may not benefit sparrow populations as immigration will be necessary to maintain breeding numbers.