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Holler, J. 1991. A study of prairie avifauna in northwestern Minnesota. Final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 76 pp.


The objective of this study was to characterize the avifauna present within the native prairie near Rothsay, MN, and ultimately identify management options to enhance the opportunities for prairie avifauna on the area. Information on bird presence on the Rothsay Prairie study area was gathered using a technique similar in design to the Breeding Bird Study (BBS) (Robbins and VanVelze, 1967, 1969; Erskine, 1970, 1973; Smith, 1973). The study also gathered information on habitat. Individuals representing 53 different species, 22 families and 12 orders were identified on one or more study plots during the 1989 field season. Eleven species were classified as uncommon in the breeding records: killdeer, least flycatcher, veery, yellow-headed blackbird, American robin, alder flycatcher, gray catbird, American goldfinch, Brewer's blackbird, house wren, and dickcissel, respectively. Six species were considered uncommon in the nonbreeding records (decreasing order): song sparrow, swamp sparrow, mallard, Eastern kingbird, American robin, and mourning dove. The American robin was the only species considered uncommon based on both breeding and nonbreeding records. Five species were considered rare based on both breeding and nonbreeding records: ring-necked pheasant, common snipe, Northern flicker, horned lark, and tree swallow. The five most widely distributed breeding bird species on the site (as measured by the total number of plots in which they were recorded) were: 1) savannah sparrow (83.2%), 2) bobolink (77.4%), 3) western meadowlark (72.2%), 4) common yellowthroat (67.7%), and 5) sedge wren (65.8%). Two possibilities are suggested for these wide distributions: 1) these species may be habitat generalists and thus, have a large range of different habitats that satisfy their life requirements, and 2) these species have very specific habitat requirements and the Rothsay area is representative of their preferred habitat. No species listed as threatened or endangered occurred on the Rothsay Prairie Landscape.

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