River Bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis): Hiding Endangered Birds

River Bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis (Torr.) A. Gray)

Synonyms: Schoenoplectus  fluviatilis,  Bolboschoenus fluviatilis (Torr.) Soják

Plant Family: Sedge, Cyperacae

Wetland Indicator Status: OBL

 

Photo of River Bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis)

River Bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis) in flower

River bulrush is an emergent member of the sedge family, Cyperacae, found in is shallow marshes, lake shores and other wet places.  It is often associated with other sedge family species and cattails (Typha spp.)  River Bulrush seeds are eaten by waterfowl and other birds.  The roots, stems and leaves are eaten by muskrats, and also used to make their lodges.  As seen in the photo below, dense stands of River Bulrush make great nesting habitat for birds.

Tern Nesting Platforms

Tern nest platforms placed in River Bulrush. This island of bulrushes and other emergent vegetation in Lake Puckaway is home to a colony of WI state endangered Forster’s Terns. The floating platforms are placed to bolster the population and provide some insurance against floods. Both of these platforms contain three tern eggs.  In 2013 twenty platforms were installed, nineteen had nests with eggs when last checked.

Leave a Reply