Important Bird Areas

Rudyard Clay Plain

Michigan

A large ecoregion dominated by herbaceous openland and extending from Dryburg to Stalwart.

Ornithological Summary

Supports a large population of breeding Le Conte's Sparrows and resident Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Conservation Issues

Primary threat to IBA is wind power, which is currently proposed on an IBA-wide scale, and could have devastating avoidance effects on Sharp-tailed Grouse. Examining the extent to which Sharp-tailed Grouse are sensitive to tall free-standing structures near leks and wintering areas is a top priority. Improper mowing regimes is a threat to nesting Le Conte's Sparrows. Consultation with landowners to minimize nest destruction due to mowing is a high priority.

Ownership

Mostly privately-owned, with small portions of state-owned land on the Sault Ste. Marie State Forest (Michigan Department of Natural Resouces).

Habitat

Almost entirely non-tilled herbaceous cover, with small pockets of shrub, wetland, and various forest cover types intermixed.

Land Use

Primary land use is agriculture/hay production.