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Niemi, G.J., and J.M. Hanowski. 1984. Habitat characteristics of yellow rail, upland sandpiper, and sharp-tailed sparrow territories. Final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 15 pp.


A major reason for the population decline of many species of the past 100 years is loss or change in habitat characteristics or complexes required by those species. However, a thorough understanding of the specific habitat requirements for many species is still lacking. Often wildlife managers or experienced naturalists recognize specific habitat components or configurations that a species needs within its breeding habitat, but quantification of these requirements, their objective determination, or a process to incorporate this information into a management framework are nearly non-existent.

We studied habitat relationships of three species that have status of special concern in Minnesota: the yellow rail (), sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), and upland sandpiper (Batramia longicauda). Our overall goals were to : (1) identify specific habitat configurations and plant species associated with the territories of each species; (2) determine whether the vegetational methods used by Wiens and Rotenberry (1981) in grassland and shrubsteppe habitat and by ourselves in peatland habitats could be applied in prairie wetlands and grasslands; and (3) analyze these habitat data to identify similar and different characteristics in the territories of these species.

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