Presentation-Ken Brunson

Use of Spatial Applications in Setting Bird Conservation Priorities

 in Northeastern Kansas


Ken Brunson

Wildlife Diversity Coordinator





Slide-1.  This presentation describes the use of GIS layers of occurrence data for sensitive species for assigning priority geographic areas (Conservation Opportunity Areas)

Slide-2.  State Wildlife Grants applies priorities in “A Future for Kansas Wildlife” for  funding conservation efforts and projects

Slide-3.  A Future for Kansas Wildlife identifies priority species and habitats within each of the three major Bird Conservation Region (BCR) areas

Slide-4.  The BCR Tallgrass Prairie Region (22) covers the eastern third of Kansas

Slide-5.  There are 12 Tier I (top echelon) bird species in this habitat region for Kansas


Slides-6-11.  Of the top 6 bird species, this application has so far been able to apply GIS layers for distributions for Henslow’s Sparrow, Baird’s Sparrow, and Greater Prairie Chicken

Slide-12.  Current efforts are being made to develop GIS layers for all 12 if possible or as applicable



Slides-13-14.  The geographic unit chosen is the HUC 10. This is a hydrological unit that translates into 362 large watersheds for the state. 

Other geographical units can be considered but this is a most popular size in working with general conservation issues within KDWP.

Slide-15.  There are 132 HUC 10 areas in the BCR Tallgrass Region for Kansas.


 Slides-16-17.  Refinement of Henslow’s Sparrow priority areas through this method is not very detailed. Preferred habitat descriptions may be more useful.


Slides-18-19.  The similar situation exists for Baird’s Sparrow which also is only a migratory species and may not nest in the state.


Slide-20.  Loggerhead shrike has a very general distribution but low numbers

Slide-21.  Greater prairie chickens represent the fourth highest ranked bird species but a species of particular importance due to current wind power and other fragmentation issues.

 Slide-22.  The range of Greater Prairie Chickens is quite broad and throughout the Flint Hills. This illustrates just the portion of the main range in the Tallgrass Prairie BCR region.

Slide-23.  A distributional map for Sprague’s Pipit will be attempted.

More detailed distribution information for Sprague’s Pipit could help give more backing to defining Conservation Opportunity Areas.


Slide-24.  Bobolink has definitive nesting areas and therefore useful for helping to define more important COAs.

Slide-25.  We have relatively good distributional information for these three mammal species.

Slide-26.  We have excellent distributional information for each of the top three SGCN species for amphibians and for reptiles.

Slide-27.  We can portray distributional information (via HUC 10s) for Prairie mole cricket and American Burying beetle along with the Virile crayfish.

Slide-28.  Based on the combination of the top SGCN for those bird species identified along with the remaining other top species for the other taxa groups, we can identify the top HUC10 priority areas (darkest shaded)

Slide-29.  Research indicates that management strategies that favor a mosaic of varying structural components of the Tallgrass prairie are generally best for most of our top SGCN and focusing largely on Henslow’s Sparrow and Greater Prairie Chicken life requirements.

Slide-30.  Annual burning and intensive grazing over broad landscapes in the Flint Hills reduce “old growth” prairie and a mosaic pattern, therefore, diminishing preferred habitats for Henslow’s Sparrow and Greater Prairie Chicken.

Slide-31.  Haying practices can turn excellent Henslow’s Sparrow and Greater Prairie Chicken habitat into unusable areas, particularly for sustaining young of year bird broods.

 Slide-32.  A mosaic that may include some shrubby habitat is alright for Henslow’s Sparrows although battling woody encroachment into prairie seems to be the priority for a number of reasons.
   Slide-33 Old growth and mosaic patterns supply a much more diverse habitat and food supply with bountiful insects for young birds.
   Slide-34.  Classic Henslow’s Sparrow habitat.

Subpages (1): Conservation Areas
Kansas Upland Bird Partnership,
Sep 5, 2009, 9:12 AM