Jessie L. Birckhead

Structure of Avian Habitat Following Hay and Biofuels Production in Native Warm-season Grass Stands in the Mid-South

SEAFWA Journal Volume 1, March 2014
Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

Changing pasture and hayfield management practices have impacted grassland songbird and northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations in the Mid-South in the past 50 years. Non-native species, such as tall fescue (Schedonorus phoenix) and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata), are commonly used for hay production, where they are managed in dense stands that are harvested during peak nesting periods for grassland birds. Native warm-season grasses, including switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) have been promoted for hay and biofuels production and are often touted as beneficial for wildlife....

Preliminary Avian Habitat and Animal Performance Response to an Integrated Forage/Biofuels Management System in the Mid-south

Habitat loss, habitat degradation, and agricultural intensification are primary factors contributing to the decline of many birds that use grasslands, including the endangered grasshopper sparrow and the northern bobwhite. Current grazing practices in the Mid-South focus on getting high yields from dense, monotypic stands of non-native forages, which provide no bare ground, little vertical structure, and poor plant species richness. Few studies have examined the vegetative response of native warm-season forages to various grazing systems with respect to bird habitat, and none have been...