Understanding the relationships of bird abundance to vegetation and the surrounding landscape would help to guide meadow restoration for wildlife habitat. I examined the relationship between bird abundance and vegetation structure and the composition of the surrounding landscape in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2011 and 2012 by using regression models. The relationship between abundance and habitat characteristics varied among species. Common yellowthroats and red-winged blackbirds were more abundant in meadows with tall, dense grasses, while eastern meadowlarks were more abundant in shorter, sparser meadows. Field sparrow abundance was positively related to the amount of woody vegetation in a meadow. The habitat surrounding a survey point also explained bird abundances, with bobolinks and meadowlarks more common in meadows surrounded by grasslands and common yellowthroats more abundant in meadows surrounded by forest. Restoration of meadows in landscapes containing a high proportion of grassland habitats should target eastern meadowlarks and bobolinks by restoring shorter, sparser vegetation. Meadow restorations in forested areas should target other species such as field sparrows or common yellowthroats. Strategic planning of meadow restoration based on the surrounding landscape composition and species-specific vegetation structure requirements should be used to increase the probability of a successful habitat restoration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation