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Community Structure and Composition of Breeding and Wintering Birds in a Wastewater-Irrigated Oak Forest

Brian F. Rollfinke and Richard H. Yahner
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1990), pp. 493-500
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809664
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809664
Page Count: 8
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Community Structure and Composition of Breeding and Wintering Birds in a Wastewater-Irrigated Oak Forest
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Abstract

We compared avian community structure and composition between 4 forested sites irrigated with wastewater (chlorinated sewage effluent) and 4 nonirrigated forested sites in central Pennsylvania during 1 breeding season and 2 winters. Compared to nonirrigated sites, irrigated sites had higher densities of all species combined and higher species richness (S) in the breeding season and in the winters. In the breeding season, 9 species were significantly (P < 0.05) more abundant on irrigated sites, whereas only 1 species was more abundant on nonirrigated sites. In winter, 4 species were more abundant on irrigated sites, but none was more abundant on nonirrigated sites. Because irrigation resulted in dense herbaceous growth, species that foraged or nested in vegetation near (<3 m) ground level were particularly abundant on irrigated sites. We conclude that community structure and composition of breeding and wintering avifauna were not negatively affected by wastewater irrigation, but breeding populations of species that forage or nest in leaf litter may be affected negatively by irrigation.

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