Title

Why are Bobolinks Leaving Utah?

Authors

Bethany Unger

Document Type

Presentation

Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date

4-2014

Faculty Mentor

Daniel MacNulty

Abstract

The Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryxivories, is a songbird measuring 7 inches in length with a 12 inch wingspan. It has a diet of insects in the summer and seeds in the winter. The songbird is well known for the length of its migration, one of the longest among North American songbirds. Bobolinks travel from North America to spend the winter months in South America. The birds traditional prefer "large fields with a mixture of grasses and broad-leaved plants like legumes and dandelions," (allaboutbirds.org). Breeding range has declined in Northern Utah, as well as population numbers, presumably due to habitat loss. The Bobolink is listed on the sensitive species list for Utah, because the area of land the birds used to occupy in Utah had decreased, making Utah fall on the fringe of the birds range. This project was conducted to learn how the habitat for Bobolinks on the edge of their territory compares to habitat in more heavily dominated regions consisting of a high percentage of grasses and forbs. A habitat assessment was performed to gather a better understanding of the type of habitat the birds favor on areas that are known nesting sites in Northern Utah. Species presence, cover, and PH data were taken to gain a better understanding of the habitat of the sites. The species presence tests show what plant species are present in occupied areas that are on the edge of the birds range. The cover analysis allowed us to gather a better understanding of the makeup of the Utah sites, Wildlife Management Areas to manage for Bobolinks. The cover analysis allowed us to gather a better understanding of the makeup of the Utah sites to manage for Bobolinks. The cover analysis showed that Bobolinks in Utah occupied areas of high grass content.

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