grassland birds

tgreybirds.com

This raptor migrates from its winter home in Argentina into western North America and breeds as far north as Canada. It's fate is tied to the amount of open rangeland left in the western prairie, and lots of habitat has been lost in the 20th Century after range land was broken out and farmed. The bird helps producers by eating insects, mammals and reptiles considered by producers to be pests. Conservation Reserve Program-enrolled land provides the type of habitat the bird can thrive in.

PARTICIPANTS:

Alan Vernon

They're not sport birds, but they are important to the ecological balance of range land. We look at the lives and habitats of the birds, and how conservation initiatives like Conservation Reserve Program helps these species.

PARTICIPANTS:

Tammy VerCauteren
Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Ft. Collins, CO

Matthew Bain
Smokey Valley Ranch Project Coord.
The Nature Conservancy
Oakley, KS

planetofbirds.com

The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains.

Wikimedia Commons

A grouse of the open grassland, the Greater Prairie-Chicken is known for its mating dance, performed by males on flat display sites on shortgrass prairie called leks. Their range extends from northern Oklahoma through the Flinthills and northern Kansas, and on north through the centers of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Sarah Sortum and her brother found their way back to the family ranch in the central Nebraska sandhills by starting an eco-tourism business, allowing bird watchers to see the chicken in its mixed-grass home.

Wikimedia Commons

The Ferruginous is North America's largest hawk. Its habitat includes grasslands, deserts, and other open areas with isolated shrubs or trees where less than 50 percent of the land is under cultivation. The raptor preys on small mammals, many of which would be considered pests to ranchers. Its favorite meal is the prairie dog; a depopulation of the prairie dog on the High Plains has negatively impacted this hawk's numbers.

Wikimedia Commons

The Sandhill Crane is a tall gray bird of open grasslands, meadows and wetlands. The most numerous crane species in the world, this bird congregates in huge numbers during migration between wintering grounds in the Southwest and its breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Eastern Asia.

Alan Vernon

They're not sport birds, but they are important to the ecological balance of range land. We look at the lives and habitats of the birds, and how conservation initiatives like Conservation Reserve Program helps these species.

planetofbirds.com

The Mountain Plover is a shorebird that spends little time on the beach and lives on the open Plains and nowhere near mountains. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory offers financial incentives to farmers of the southwest Nebraska panhandle to till around their nests - which often are in crop fields.

smithsonianmag.com

The Burrowing Owl is North America's only raptor that nests below ground. This bird's fate is tied to that of the prairie dog, and dog populations are in sharp decline.