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Winter foraging guild structure and habitat associations in suburban bird communitiesAuthor(s): Richard M. DeGraaf
Source: Landscape and Urban Planning. 21: 173-180.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (1.0 MB)
DescriptionWinter bird communities were compared in three suburbs over 5 years: MT, a 70-year-old area of large houses and planted mature trees, primarily oaks (Quercus) and elms (Ulmus); YT, a 15-year-old area also built upon former open agricultural land with young planted trees, primarily maples (Acer); OP, a 15-year-old area in which houses were built within a second-growth oak-pine (Quercus-Pinus) woodland. Winter bird surveys were conducted each year for 5 years (1976-1980) during January. The total number of species across suburban types was 32; total abundance was higher (P<0.05) in MT and YT than in OP. Species richness was similar in each suburban type. Seedeaters and omnivorous ground-foragers dominated the avifaunas of MT and YT, comprising 86% and 92% of their respective avifaunal abundances. Insectivores comprised 14% of the avifauna in OP, but less than 4% and 1%, respectively, in MT and YT. All significant correlations (r) between ground foragers and measures of tree cover were negative; positive relationships existed between lawn area and distance to the nearest forest fragment. All significant correlations between numbers of insectivores and measures of tree cover were positive. Even though MT contained the largest trees and the greatest tree species and shrub richness, habitat conditions for insectivorous birds were poor in this mature, planted habitat compared with those in OP, built in remnant natural woodland.
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CitationDeGraaf, Richard M. 1991. Winter foraging guild structure and habitat associations in suburban bird communities. Landscape and Urban Planning. 21: 173-180.
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