April 2018

Vol. 46, No. 2

Grasshopper Sparrow Status and Conservation in Massachusetts and throughout New England

Andrew Vitz and Chris Buelow

Grasshopper Sparrow at Frances A. Crane Wildlife Management Area. Photograph by MassWildlife/Bill Byrne.

Grassland birds represent one of the fastest declining suites of birds in North America, and for many species, these declines are occurring throughout their range. The once abundant grasslands associated with the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest have undergone a large-scale transformation to agricultural fields and pasture, and historical disturbances associated with grassland habitat, e.g., fire, have been largely removed from the landscape. In addition to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, pesticide use has been implicated in playing a leading role in widespread declines of grassland birds in the United States (Mineau and Whiteside 2013).

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