Bird use of roadsides in an agricultural ecosystem
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Before agriculture dominated the Midwest plains, prairie grasses and other plants dominated the Iowa landscape. Today, however, most of this land is devoted to rowcrop farming. While the original prairie and early, small farms provided habitat for numerous bird species, this habitat has been lost as pastures and hay and oats fields have been eliminated. Now, fencerows, grassed waterways, railroad rights-of-way, and roadsides represent potential refuge for bird species that do not need large areas to thrive.