Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre prairie-marsh ecosystem in central Kansas. Approximately 8,000 acres of mixed grassland are dedicated for the conservation of bird populations, but little is known about the status of bird communities within these areas. This study took place within grassland areas of Cheyenne Bottoms from May – July 2021. I investigated bird community composition, relative abundance of frequently observed bird species, vegetative characteristics, and similarity of sites across different grazing intensities (continuous, rotational, and non-grazed). The four most common bird species observed were dickcissel (Spiza americana), grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), meadowlark species (Sturnella spp.), and red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Dickcissel abundances were greatest within non-grazed and rotationally grazed sites. Grasshopper sparrows had the highest abundance in a continuous site with low flooding, moderately high abundance in rotational sites, low abundance in a continuous site with high flooding, and abundance approaching zero in non-grazed sites. Red-winged blackbirds had higher abundances in non-grazed sites than other treatments. Vegetative similarity was generally highest within grazing treatments. Grass height and litter depth were highest at sites of the non-grazed treatment, with similarities across other treatments. Forb comparisons across sites show different distributions for sites of each treatment type, with rotational sites exhibiting a strong right skew and a relatively constrained height range. Presence of sweet clover (Melilotus spp.) was highly apparent at rotational sites within multispectral imagery. Management should continue to maintain pastures with both continuous and rotational grazing regimes.


Dr. Medhavi Ambardar

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type



© 2022 Kirsten Granstrom-Arndt


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