Date of Award
Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) winters in recently burned sites in pine savannas of the Southeastern United States. Previous studies have suggested that factors such as seed abundance and litter depth are important to wintering Henslow’s sparrows. My study asked how habitat variables including vegetation structure, seed abundance, and arthropod abundance predict Henslow’s sparrow site occupancy at Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. In this study, Henslow’s sparrow more often occupied sites burned one growing season earlier than sites burned two growing seasons earlier, and did not occupy sites burned three or more growing seasons earlier. Data indicated that mass of graminoid seeds borne on stalks in November and minimum total seed mass were higher in occupied sites vs. unoccupied sites while litter density was lower. This suggests that Henslow’s sparrow selects habitats that may maximize foraging efficiency and probability of survival based on information about litter density and seed availability.
Nicholson, Mary E., "Habitat Characteristics Affecting Site Occupation in Wintering Henslow’s Sparrows at Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge" (2011). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1378.