Response of grassland birds to habitat characteristics, oil wells, and roads in managed grasslands in the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota

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The U.S. Forest Service defines sensitive species as species that need special management to maintain and improve their status on National Forests and Grasslands, and prevent a need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The Sprague’s pipit and Baird’s sparrow are listed as sensitive species in the Northern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. These species require large patches of native grass cover throughout their life cycles. Large-scale losses and degradation of critical grassland habitat highlight the importance of appropriate management and conservation measures for remaining native grasslands. Northern Prairie is evaluating the effects of landscape-level (e.g., oil development, roads) and site-specific (e.g., vegetation structure and composition) factors on populations of Sprague’s pipits, Baird’s sparrows, and other declining grassland birds in the Little Missouri National Grassland in western North Dakota. The results from this study will contribute to understanding grassland songbird responses to local and landscape factors and identify specific mechanisms by which conservation measures for declining grassland bird populations can be improved.