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    The exotic tree, Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), has invaded riparian zones throughout much of the western Unites States. Although promoted as a useful species for wildlife because of its abundant edible fruit, evidence for its value to breeding birds remains sparse. We compared relative rates of usage, nest success, and cowbird parasitism of birds breeding in Russian olive versus native tree species at a site where Russian olive is a minor component. Some species, such as the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) and Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), preferentially placed their nests in Russian olive. Nest success was similar for nests in Russian olive and native species. During 1997, nests of the Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) were significantly more likely to be parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) when placed in Russian olive than in native species, although nest success was not significantly different. Our results may not apply to areas where Russian olive is common.

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    Stoleson, Scott H.; Finch, Deborah M. 2001. Breeding bird use of and nesting success in exotic Russian olive in New Mexico. Wilson Bulletin. 113(4): 452-455.


    Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia, breeding birds

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