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Funded Projects

Evaluation of Four Conservation Management Practices for Northern Bobwhites and Grassland Songbirds

We propose to evaluate 4 conservation management practices promoted by the NRCS. We will evaluate these practices by quantifying temporal changes in vegetation composition and structure and by examining Northern Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) and grassland songbird use in a complex of fields where these practices have been implemented for 3 growing seasons. Specific objectives are to (1) determine temporal changes over 5 growing seasons in vegetative composition and structure in experimental plots receiving a disking or burning treatment to encourage early successional habitat development; (2) determine nest site selection, nest success, and brood habitat use for Northern Bobwhites and (3)grassland songbirds in fields being managed for field borders, early successional habitats, perennial shrub vegetation, and native warm-season grasses. Nest selection, nest success, and brood habitat use for Northern Bobwhites will be examined using standard radio-telemetry protocol. Songbird nest selection and nest success will be determined though intensive nest searches. Unlike other studies which have assessed conservation practices as they are being implemented, our study has the benefit of being done on an area where these practices will have been in place for 5 growing seasons when the study is concluded. The results should provide NRCS staff with information which can be used to refine conservation management guidelines, enhanced our understanding of habitat conditions created by these management practices, and how and when these habitats are used by Northern Bobwhites and songbirds. Further, management recommendations which will sustain desirable habitat conditions temporally will be developed. The results will be written as a thesis by a student pursuing a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology and developed into a concise document for use by NRCS staff. Partners in this study include the SC NRCS, the SC Department of Natural Resources, and Clemson University.

Ernie P. Wiggers
Nemours Wildlife Foundation
230 Stroban Rd.
Seabrook, SC 29940

Phone: (843) 846-2539
Email: ewiggers@islc.net

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