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Habitat Selection by Birds of Riparian Communities: Evaluating Effects of Habitat Alterations

F. Stauffer and Louis B. Best
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan., 1980), pp. 1-15
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808345
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808345
Page Count: 15
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Habitat Selection by Birds of Riparian Communities: Evaluating Effects of Habitat Alterations
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Abstract

Avifauna of riparian communities were studied in Iowa during late spring and early summer. Birds were censused on 28 study plots representing a habitat gradient from hayfields to closed-canopy woodlands. An index of nesting niche breadth was determined for 18 open-nesting bird species on the basis of vegetation life form(s) used for nesting, and for 10 cavity-nesting species on the basis of type(s) of nest-cavity support. Cavity-nesters preferred soft snags as nest sites. Floodplain woodlands supported higher densities of breeding birds than upland woodland or herbaceous habitats. Bird species richness increased (P < 0.01) with the width of wooded riparian habitats. Wooded habitats supported a maximum of 32 species; herbaceous habitats, 8. Observation frequencies of 41 bird species in 6 general habitat types were used to calculate indices of tolerance to habitat alteration. Microhabitat characteristics selected by each species were determined by comparing bird observation frequencies with 36 vegetation variables, using stepwise multiple regression. The potential effects of 6 alterations to wooded riparian habitats on the 41 species are predicted.

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