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Density and Nest Success of Grassland Birds in Warm Season Conservation Reserve Program Fields in Southwestern Wisconsin


September 2009 - December 2018


Within agricultural landscapes in the Midwest, a vast majority of the land is privately-owned and actively worked. The absence of large protected grasslands in public ownership in such landscapes makes those habitats that remain relatively undisturbed during the breeding season, including remnant prairies, agricultural set-aside fields and idle oldfields, some of the most valuable habitats for grassland birds. In particular, grassland habitat established through federal set-aside programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CRP grasslands serve as replacements for the surrogate grassland habitats such as pasture and grass hay that have declined drastically over the last 50 year. However, CRP grasslands are becoming increasingly disturbed due to mandated mid-season contract management and potential biofuel production (Cooper, 2008). Understanding the demographics of grassland bird populations will be needed to understand how to manage for grassland birds in the face of potential large-scale habitat change.

Research Products and Activities


  • Byers, Carolyn M. 2013. Grassland bird use of warm season grass fields in southwest Wisconsin. M.S. thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 232

Phd Students: 160

Post Docs: 58

University Staff: 268

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 677

Scientific Publications: 1887

Presentations: 4313



Funding Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Wiscosnin Department of Natural Resources Science Services


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey