Great Basin Naturalist


Densities of passerine breeding birds were compared between four range pastures variously grazed by sheep over a 50-year period. The experimental pastures, located at the Desert Experimental Range in southwestern Utah, included three grazed and one ungrazed. Grazed pastures were each heavily stocked and grazed annually at one of three winter seasons (early, middle, or late). Important structural (physiognomic) and compositional differences existed in the vegetation of the experimental pastures. Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris [Linnaeus]), numerically dominant in the pastures, apparently responded to those differences. Black-throated Sparrows (Amphispiza bilineata [Cassin]) and Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus Linnaeus) were less common and found as breeding birds only in dry wash habitats. No significant differences were found between the pastures in estimates of total breeding bird populations, bird standing crop biomass, or bird species richness.