Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Brett J. Goodwin


Grassland songbirds are declining faster and more consistently than other avifauna of North America. This has resulted in many species being placed on state and federal lists as species of concern. These declines can be linked to former and current land use practices which have resulted in an extensive loss of habitat. Natural resource agencies are trying to offset these habitat losses by reconstructing grasslands formerly cropped areas and protecting remaining grassland tracts. Few studies have addressed how the location in the landscape and vegetation composition of these reconstructions affects grassland birds. This thesis describes data collected from 32 locations on habitat use and the influence of the surrounding landscape on twenty grassland obligate, grassland user, and wetland bird species. I found that site composition of grassland reconstructions matters in terms of bird species richness in northeastern and east-central North Dakota, as well as the amount of native vegetation within a site. It was also found that certain landscape variables (e.g., amount of open water and woody vegetation) influence bird species richness suggesting that seed mix and location of grassland reconstruction is fundamental to maintaining or increasing grassland obligate, grassland user, and wetland avian populations.