Conserve Wildlife Blog

Grassland Bird Survey Yields Promising Results

May 20th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon

Earlier this week CWF and USFWS biologists joined forces to start off the season with a grassland bird survey in Burlington County, New Jersey. The vast grassland habitat, doubling as an airfield, is home to the state endangered upland sandpiper, state threatened grasshopper sparrow, savannah sparrow, and bobolink, as well as the eastern meadowlark, a species of concern. These bird species, among many others, can all be found nesting at this site in the clumps of grass during the months of May, June, and July. Many of the management practices at the airfield, like consistent mowing, help maintain this grassland habitat and keep it an early successional state for grassland birds to nest in year after year.

For the survey, biologist met on site just before sunrise with binoculars hanging from their necks and clipboards with data sheets in hand. Male birds were already perching on tall blades of grass and singing to attract mates and defend territory as we dispersed to our survey points. At each point it was our job to distinguish what bird song and calls we were hearing and record any focal species activity onto our data sheets.

Between the three surveyors and 25 survey points, all of the target species were identified as well as hundreds of red-winged black birds, two great egrets, and a few mallard ducks. Of particular note, one upland sandpiper pair was sighted in its usual nesting area.

Three more surveys will follow between now and the end of the grassland bird nesting season. Follow along for updates throughout the season!

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One Response to “Grassland Bird Survey Yields Promising Results”

  1. Diana W says:

    Great work

 
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