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Consumption of Hairy Vetch, Sweet Clover, and Foxtail Seeds by Three Granivorous Bird Species

Daniel L. O'Leske, Robert J. Robel and Kenneth E. Kemp
Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (1903-)
Vol. 99, No. 3/4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 146-151
DOI: 10.2307/3627987
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3627987
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Consumption of Hairy Vetch, Sweet Clover, and Foxtail Seeds by Three Granivorous Bird Species
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Abstract

Sustainable agriculture may include hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) and sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) as cover crops. Seeds produced by these two plants are thought to be good food for wildlife, but are not abundant in crop contents of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus). To determine if the seeds were acceptable to birds, we compared their consumption by birds to that of foxtail (Setaria glauca), a preferred food of granivorous birds. Seed consumption was determined in feeding trials using three species of granivorous birds. Neither seeds of hairy vetch nor sweet clover were as acceptable as foxtail seeds to northern bobwhites, dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), or Harris' sparrows (Zonotrichia querala). Bobwhites consumed >12 g/day of foxtail seed compared to <3 g/day of vetch or clover seed; sparrows and juncos consumed 5-6 g/day of foxtail seed compared to <1 g/day of vetch or clover seed. No obvious relationship between beak size, seed size, and seed consumption was apparent.

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