Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



birds, community, diversity, Minnesota, prairie, restoration, wetlands


Our 12-mo study examined the bird communities associated with three habitat types at differing stages of restoration within a prairie/wetland complex in southeastern Minnesota. The 25-ha site previously consisted of three municipal wastewater treatment ponds that were taken off-line in 2002. One pond was retained as a shallow wetland; the others were reconfigured and restored by planting with prairie vegetation (one pond in 2003 and the other pond in 2013) to provide habitat for both wetland and grassland birds. Timed walking surveys of birds in each habitat were made monthly from June 2014 through May 2015. We observed 48 bird species at the study site during the year, with red-winged blackbird, song sparrow, American tree sparrow, dickcissel, and American goldfinch accounting for 83% of total individuals. Bird abundance varied seasonally in all habitats (0–22 birds/min), peaking in April in prairies and in September in the wetland. The wetland held more bird species (39) than either old (22) or new (24) prairies, but prairies had much higher Simpson diversity (0.799–0.809) than the wetland (0.428). Bird communities of old and new prairies were more similar to each other (Bray–Curtis similarity¼0.517) than either was to the wetland community (0.297, 0.301). Bobolink, dickcissel, sedge wren, western meadowlark, and ring-necked pheasant were found in both old and new prairies, but these species were significantly more abundant (2.7 times more individuals) in the old prairie. Management of this site (plantings, control of invasives, prescribed burns) for improved bird diversity is continuing.