Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Howard, Jerome

Second Advisor

Woodrey, Mark

Third Advisor

Lailvaux, Simon


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.


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