The prairies are home to a wide range of grassland birds. A healthy prairie provides good habitat for grassland birds. Some of these birds include the red-tail hawk, burrowing owl, prairie falcon, northern bobwhite, western meadowlark, grasshopper sparrow and many others.
Grassland birds use grasslands during the breeding season for courtship, nesting, foraging, rearing young and roosting or resting. Many species of grassland birds are considered obligate species. These are birds that require treeless areas for most or all parts of their breeding cycles. This includes nesting and foraging.
Prescribed fire must be conducted in prairies to keep undesired woody species from encroaching into the grassland. Many grassland bird populations are declining due to fire suppression and conversion of prairies to croplands.
Some grassland birds are permanent residents of the prairie, others nest there in the summer. Some stop by on their way north or south during migration.