Trends in Bird Densities at a Remnant Fescue Grassland in Saskatchewan

Bohdan Pylypec


Populations of grassland birds in North America have declined greatly in the past five decades. Hypothesized drivers of decline include habitat loss, fragmentation, and adverse impacts from human activities. At a remnant fescue grassland in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan numbers of Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus), and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) have been stable. Numbers of clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) have increased since the 1960s. Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii), Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda), and Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) are no longer present. Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii), Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), and Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) have become irregular visitors. In the past 50 years, 91 species have been observed displaying territorial behaviour, feeding, nesting, or migrating at this remnant native grassland. With encroaching urban development and increased human influence at the prairie and surrounding area, the impacts on the bird communities at the site in the future are unknown.


Bird population density trends; fescue grassland; grassland bird specialists; Saskatchewan

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