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Local Habitat Project

$11,000 Bird Habitat Project Completed in 2006

Peoria Audubon improved 10 acres of habitat for savanna birds such as Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows and Eastern Wood Pewees at Oak Bluff Savanna over the last two years (2005-06).  The work was financed entirely by a $5500 grant from the Midwest Forester's Partnership and volunteer matching work by Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang on their property near Henry, Illinois

The habitat project changed the structure of the plant community on the site by opening up the overgrown woodland to more of a scattered tree situation.  A forestry contractor was used for the small tree cutting and stump treatment.  Nonnative and invasive shrubs (Multiflora Rose, Autumn Olive and Tartarian Honeysuckle) were also removed. 

Maury Brucker's bird habitat in 2005

The slash and undergrowth were burned in the fall of 2006 by volunteers John Mullen, Tom Lerczak, Mike Ingram, Maury Brucker, Emiko Yang, and members of the Jubilee Prairie Dawgs.

The Oak Bluff Savanna Project included doing scientific pretreatment bird and plant surveys as well as repeating the surveys after the cutting was completed.  A small increase in the numbers of target savanna birds were found after the first year; although, little response had taken place yet in the plant community.  Field Sparrows, Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Wood Pewees are listed as priority birds in the Partners in Flight (PIF) conservation plans for savanna in our area.  PIF estimates these three species are decreasing by 3.2%, 2.0% and 1.1% annually. 

Completing this project is important for Peoria Audubon as it demonstrates our capacity to manage projects and grants.  This experience will be integral for Audubon's plans for a wetlands sanctuary.   

Tours of the project for Peoria Audubon members are available by contacting Maury Brucker.

-- Maury Brucker Jan. 16, 2007


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