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Thrushes Now Largely Restricted to the Built Environment in Eastern England

Christopher F. Mason
Diversity and Distributions
Vol. 6, No. 4 (Jul., 2000), pp. 189-194
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2673424
Page Count: 6
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Thrushes Now Largely Restricted to the Built Environment in Eastern England
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Abstract

I studied the distribution and density of three thrush populations, blackbird Turdus merula, song thrush T. philomelos and mistle thrush T. viscivorus, in an urban and contiguous rural area, totalling 2636 ha, in eastern England. Populations of these species are declining and I found 826, 85 and 30 territories of blackbird, song thrush and mistle thrush, respectively. Significantly more territories of all species than expected were within the urban boundary. Significantly more territories than expected were found of all three species in the built environment (residential housing, factories, schools, etc. with their associated gardens and green-space), urban and rural areas combined. Farmland occupied 67% of the study area but held significantly fewer blackbird and mistle thrush territories than expected, associated mainly with the small amount of grass; song thrushes were not recorded on farmland. Rural woodland and scrub held more blackbird and song thrush territories than expected. Song thrush was significantly associated with scrub within the urban boundary. With all three species largely absent from farmland, residential habitats can be considered as habitat refuges. The consequences of this for conservation and planning are discussed.

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