Nestling Provisioning Of Dickcissels In Native Warm-Season Grass Field Buffers
Baker, Kristina Lynne
Burger, L. Wes
Grassland birds must have accessible, nutritional prey for nestlings which Conservation Reserve Program practices like CP33—Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds may provide. In 2008—2009, I monitored dickcissel nests in and around CP33 buffers at a farm in north-central Mississippi using video cameras to capture provisioning activities. I simultaneously observed foraging flights and measured distances traveled from nests. Orthopterans were the most commonly chosen prey, and dickcissels brought larger prey items when chicks were older. But, other changes in provisioning were not significantly related to nest age as I hypothesized. Also contrary to my initial hypotheses, provisioning at nests within buffers did not differ from non-buffer nests. CRP grasslands were equivalent to other available habitats. Provisioning rate and biomass decreased when an observer was present, and male feeding increased provisioning rate. Incorporating native warm-season grasses through conservation programs can increase nesting and foraging resources for dickcissels.