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For Immediate Release
April 11, 2012

Brockport Graduate Student Studies the Decline of Grassland Birds

With grassland birds on the decline, what is behind it, and what can be done to save these species and their habitats?

Brockport,NY-David Greer, a graduate student studying for a master’s in Environmental Science, presented his research on grassland birds at Fort Drum, Jefferson County in Northern New York at The College at Brockport’s Scholar’s Day April 11. David opened his talk with a question, “is everything in decline?”

Infused with humor, David’s presentation “Grassland Bird Abundance and Habitat Quality in New York State” examined the decline in birds, more specifically the Sedge Wren, in comparison to their loss of grassland habitats. In New York State nine out of the 11 species of grassland birds is decreasing. David suggests this may be due to the loss in the bird’s natural habitat the grassland, in favor of hayfields, and haycropping.

The Sedge Wren, as David explained, is a rather small bird, weighing approximately the same as two nickels, who nests in tall, dense grasses. In order to collect all of his data David used point counts, which is a process of traveling to a predetermined location and listening for all the different bird species in the area. This determined the abundance of species in the given location. He then returned to those locations the next day to survey the vegetation using a Robel pole thus facilitating the comparison between the species and the resources available.

Adding to his presentation, David brought in some of the equipment he used to measure the vegetation to help show the audience exactly what the process looks like. After all of his research is completed he hopes to propose a management plan for the species. Though his sample size was small, David remains optimistic for the nest season, excited to continue his research and learn more about these beautiful nomadic creatures.

Story written by Emily Kellas '12, marketing intern.

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The College at Brockport, State University of New York
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(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu

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