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Thesis - University Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Department / School
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Kent C. Jensen
Grazing enhances burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) habitat in tall-grass prairies; however, limited research has been conducted in mixed-grass prairies regarding the relationship between burrowing owls and large herbivores. I examined the influence of grazing by bison (Bison bison) and cattle on burrowing owls on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota. Burrowing owl densities were sampled in each of three bison-grazed sites, three cattle-grazed sites, and three ungrazed sites. Nine blacktailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns were chosen as study sites, which ranged in size from 9.3 ha to 160.1 ha. The average year-long stocking rate for each study site was 10.7 hectares/animal unit. I sampled burrowing owl densities, prairie dog activity (inactive and active burrow density) and town size for each study site in 2004 and 2005. There was a significant difference in owl densities among grazing treatments and study sites (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001). Owl densities were higher on bison-grazed sites than on cattle-grazed and ungrazed sites. Although inactive burrow density was not significantly different among treatments, it was positively correlated with owl densities. Factors not measured may have contributed to the differences observed in grazing treatments. Incorporation of grazing practices and preservation of active prairie dog towns is encourage to ensure that burrowing owls are effectively managed on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Burrowing owl -- Habitat -- South Dakota -- Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Grazing -- South Dakota -- Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Bird populations -- South Dakota -- Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Prairie dogs -- South Dakota -- Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Includes bibliographical references (page 24-31)
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 2005 Joanna O. Murray. All rights reserved.
Murray, Joanna O., "The Influence of Grazing Treatments on Density of Nesting Burrowing Owls on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 555.