Shrubland habitat and wildlife species have been declining throughout most of New England since the 1950s. Many songbirds have been declining at a rate of 4 to 7 percent per year in New England, and these species require large openings to breed. Large shrubland openings are uncommon and today’s birds rely primarily on humans to create and maintain their required habitats. Our study focused on prairie warblers and field sparrows. We determined presence/absence and abundance of these birds in 53 shrubland habitats in Stafford County, New Hampshire, of four types: recent clearcuts, powerline rights-of-way, regenerating old fields and gravel pits. Our methods included the use of mist netting, male bird song playback, banding, and binoculars. We measured vegetation density, height and percent cover to determine if these site characteristics could be used to predict the presence/absence and abundance of these birds. Most of the birds we captured and/or resighted were in gravel pits (64.3%) and powerlines (38.5%). Gravel pits had significantly more bare ground and lower fern height then the other three site types and were more than twice as large as the other site types on average.

Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2016


UNH Undergraduate Research Journal

Journal Title

Inquiry Journal


Brigid C. Casellini


Matt Tarr


Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire

Document Type