Changes in grassland songbird abundances through time in response to burning and grazing in the northern mixed-grass prairie.
This study considered the long term effects and interaction between burning and grazing in the northern mixed-grass prairies on the grassland songbird community. Point counts were conducted to assess songbird species abundances in burned-grazed, burned-ungrazed, unburned-grazed, and unburned-ungrazed pastures along with habitat structure (litter depth, vegetation height and density) over a five year period; from the first year post burn in 2007 until the fifth year post burn in 2011. Generalized linear mixed models were used to analyse the interaction between year, burning, and grazing for songbird abundances and habitat structure. As time since burned increased, species abundances in burned-grazed pastures have become more similar with those in unburned-grazed while abundances in burned-ungrazed are becoming increasingly similar to those in unburned-ungrazed pastures. The effects of burning are different than those of grazing and both disturbances should be utilised in grassland management when possible.
songbirds, prairie, fire, grazing