Success in a secondary habitat: the dickcissel in the tallgrass prairie

TitleSuccess in a secondary habitat: the dickcissel in the tallgrass prairie
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1983
AuthorsZimmerman, JL, Finck, EJ
EditorBrewer, R
Pagination47 -49
PublisherDepartment of Biology Western Michigan University
Conference LocationKalamazoo, MI
Accession NumberKNZ0053
Keywordstallgrass prairie

The dickcissel (Spiza americana) is the most abundant species in the breeding-season community of the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Yet prairie is not the most preferred habitat; nesting density is as much as five times greater in mature oldfield communities. As a result of low nest density, prairie dickcissels suffer a significantly higher frequency as well as intensity of parasitism by the brown -headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) which reduces the production of young because of the removal of host eggs by the female cowbird. Prairie populations with low nest density, on the other hand, have a decreased chance of nests being destroyed by predators. Thus there is an offsetting balance between the two major factors affecting nest success so that the daily survival rate and the production of young in a prairie nest are no different from a nest in the oldfield community