We evaluated the effects of native-grass restoration on the spatial distribution and density of raptors, vegetative characteristics, and small-mammal communities at Peabody Wildlife Management Area, a large reclaimed surface-coal mine in western Kentucky. We surveyed raptors from 2008 to 2012 via distance sampling at roadside points, and conducted vegetation and small-mammal surveys. We found no associations between total small-mammal relative abundance and native-grass restoration or vegetative characteristics. However, management for native grass positively affected the density of Circus cyaneus (Northern Harrier) and influenced the local distribution of Northern Harriers and Buteo jamaicensis (Red-Tailed Hawk). These results suggest that restoration and management of native grass on reclaimed mine lands can enhance habitat for grassland raptors, including the Northern Harrier, a species of conservation concern throughout its range.
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