Habitat selection by songbirds in Manitoba's tall-grass prairie: a multi-scale analysis
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Avian point counts were conducted in tall-grass prairie fragments and adjacent grassland and agricultural matrix habitat in southern Manitoba. Bird density/abundance was compared between habitat types, while variables within prairie at local, patch or landscape level were modeled to determin avian habitat selection. Prairies and matrix grassland habitat supported the same number of species in both years, and densities of all focal bird species were the same in non-native grasslands as compared with native tall-grass prairies. Overall species richness in tall-grass prairies was mainly driven by vegetation variables. Variable responses to habitat structure and composition between avian species indicate that managing grasslands to promote heterogeneity is important to sustain a diverse assemblage of avian species. As individual species were affected most strongly by vegetation structure and richness, it follows that management of prairie vegetation through techniques such as grazing and prescribed burning could optimize habitat usability for birds.