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Effects of grazing on nesting by upland sandpipers in southcentral North Dakota

January 1, 1993

Grazing by livestock is often used to reduce litter, improve plant vigor, and alter plant species composition, but additional information is needed on the effects of these management practices on upland-nesting birds. Thus, we conducted an experimental study of the effect of grazing on nest density and nest success of upland sandpipers (Bartramia longicauda) in southcentral North Dakota from 1981 to 1987. Our experimental design consisted of 4 treatments and 1 control, each applied to 1 field in each of 3 study areas. The treatments represented options available to grassland managers: spring grazing, autumn grazing, autumn-and-spring grazing, season-long grazing, and control (ungrazed during the study). Nests (n = 342) were found by searching study areas with a cable-chain drag. Nest density was lower (P = 0.006) for treatments where cattle were present (spring, autumn-and-spring, and season-long) than where cattle were not present (autumn and control) during the nesting season. We concluded that grazing during the nesting season reduced the nest density of upland sandpipers. Nest success varied among years (P = 0.01) and was low in the first year of grazing and higher at the end of the study period. We found little evidence that the grazing treatment influenced nest success. We recommend that public lands with breeding populations of upland sandpipers include a complex of fields under various management practices, including fields undisturbed during the nesting season.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1993
Title Effects of grazing on nesting by upland sandpipers in southcentral North Dakota
DOI 10.2307/3809426
Authors Bonnie S. Bowen, Arnold D. Kruse
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Management
Index ID 1001098
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center