Avian habitat selection and prairie wetland dynamics: a 10-year experiment

  • Published source details Murkin H.R., Murkin E.J. & Ball J.P. (1997) Avian habitat selection and prairie wetland dynamics: a 10-year experiment. Ecological Applications, 7, 1144-1159.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage water level in wetlands

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Manage water level in wetlands

    A replicated study at Delta Marsh, Manitoba, Canada (Murkin et al. 1997), found that different species preferentially used areas of prairie wetlands with varying amounts of open water. Responses to water level (and associated vegetation) changes in ten adjacent prairie wetlands (150 x 300 m) created in 1980 were assessed. Censuses were conducted 1 May to 31 October (1980-1989). Yellow-headed blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus used shallow-flooded areas with a mix of open water and emergent vegetation, red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus preferred denser vegetation. American coot Fulica americana preferred deep water with interspersed vegetation. Dabbling ducks generally occupied marsh with equal amounts of vegetation cover and open water. Diving ducks used deeper water but there was variation between species and season, as to whether open or more densely vegetated areas were preferred.


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