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Effects of natural gas development on three grassland bird species in CFB Suffield, Alberta, Canada Open Access


Other title
Crested wheatgrass
nest success
Chestnut-collared longspur
natural gas
breeding territories
Savannah sparrow
Sprague's pipit
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hamilton, Laura
Supervisor and department
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
MacDonald, Ellen (Renewable Resources)
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biological Sciences)
Dale, Brenda (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service)
Bayne, Erin (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
I investigated the effect of energy sector development and introduced crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) on grassland birds on Canadian Forces Base Suffield. I conducted point counts and mapped breeding territories in 2007 and 2008 for Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis), chestnut-collared longspurs (Calcarius ornatus), and Sprague’s pipits (Anthus spragueii). I found that Savannah sparrows favored areas with taller vegetation, human disturbances and crested wheatgrass in both years. Longspurs used shorter vegetation and in were tolerant of disturbance. Crested wheatgrass was avoided by longspurs in both years. Pipit territories contained similar vegetation to longspurs, were sensitive to disturbance, and avoided placing territories in areas containing crested wheatgrass or trails in both years. Well sites, pipelines and junctions were not avoided by the three species. My research suggests that reducing the number of trails and the spread of crested wheatgrass will increase habitat availability for sensitive species of grassland birds.
License granted by Laura Hamilton ( on 2009-12-17T18:45:39Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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