Monitoring Birds in Rotationally Grazed Pasture, 2017 Update
In a Nutshell
Wild bird populations can thrive in properly managed working landscapes. Cattle activity changes grassland structure; creating areas with short and tall vegetation, which provides habitat that is less available in conservation areas. For some species, rotationally grazed pastures have the capacity to support greater bird population sizes compared to conservation areas that are not grazed. Prairies and pastures complement one another to protect a wider range of birds then either habitat alone.
Restored prairie in a conservation area supported 285 birds (21 species) in 2016 and 230 birds (25 species) in 2017. Rotationally grazed perennial pasture supported 553 birds (22 species) in 2016 and 468 birds (23 species) in 2017. Rotationally grazed perennial + annual pasture supported 524 birds (28 species) and supported 545 birds (21 species) in 2017. Pastures better supported some birds that are considered in decline than the restored prairie.