Grassland birds have specific requirements that dictate where they breed, build nests and forage for food. The Sprague’s Pipit is a medium-sized grassland songbird species that is of high conservation priority because its population has declined significantly in recent decades, along with the loss and degradation of prairie habitat. Eighty percent of the global breeding population occurs in western Canada’s mixed grassland ecosystems. Pipits require large tracts of intact native grassland habitat and do not tolerate shrub species.
In the past, disturbance by frequent fires and bison herds helped control the spread of shrubs. Today, mowing can be an effective tool for the management of shrubs on native prairie grasslands.
The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) understands the importance of grasslands to bird species, cattle production, and the health of rural communities. In response to the issue of woody shrub encroachment, MHHC has developed a shrub-mowing program targeting pastures that are in priority areas for threatened grassland birds. This program is provided to landowners free of charge. Please contact your local MHHC field representative for more information on how your grassland can be involved.
Carol Graham – Reston – 204.821.4943
Roy Bullion – Shoal Lake – 204.729.7592
Tom Moran – Boissevain – 204.305.0276