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STUDENTS AND POST-DOCS

BRANTA — Joanna O. Murray


The influence of grazing treatments on density of nesting burrowing owls on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

 
Institution: University of South Dakota, USA
Supervisors: KC Jenzen
Details: MSc 2005 (Completed)

Address: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe – Game, Fish and Parks Department, PO Box 590, Eagle Butte, SD 57625, USA (Mar 2006) Email

Subject Keywords: grazing practices, bison, prairie dogs

Species Keywords: Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia

Thesis Online here

 

Abstract

Limited research is available in mixed-grass prairies regarding the relationship between burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) and large herbivores. The influence of grazing by bison (Bison bison) and cattle on burrowing owls was examined in northcentral South Dakota. Owl densities were sampled on nine black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns within three bison-grazed, cattle-grazed, and ungrazed pastures, respectively. The year-long stocking rate was 10.7 hectares/animal unit. Owl densities, prairie dog activity (inactive and active burrow density) and town size were sampled. There was a significant difference in owl densities among treatments and sites (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001). Owl densities were higher on bison-grazed than on cattle-grazed and ungrazed sites. Although inactive burrow density was not significantly different among treatments, it was positively correlated with owl densities. Incorporation of grazing practices and preservation of active prairie dog towns is encouraged to ensure that burrowing owls are effectively managed.

 
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