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The bird community in a coastal wetland in East China and its spatial responses to a wind farm

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Coastal wetlands in East China are essential stopover places for birds along the East Asian-Australian Flyway. However, numerous wind turbines have been built in or near these wetlands in recent years, which might disturb the bird community in the area. Therefore, investigating the bird community and its responses to wind farms in coastal wetlands of East China is of great significance for bird conservation. In the spring and autumn of 2019 and 2020, we investigated the bird community in the Rudong coastal wetland in East China using point counts and analysed the relationship between bird number and distance to the wind farm boundary through partial correlation analysis. A total of 11 orders and 103 species of birds, including four endangered species, were observed during our survey. Charadriiformes was the dominant taxon in the wetland. Passeriformes exhibited high species richness but low numbers. The results of partial correlation analysis indicated that birds’ responses to the wind farm varied depending on their dominance and category: dominant and subdominant birds tended to avoid the wind farm, whereas rare birds tended to approach them; aquatic birds were alert to the wind farm, whereas terrestrial birds better adapted to them. We concluded that the dominant aquatic birds, including the endangered species Calidris tenuirostris, were most negatively impacted by the wind farm; the occasional birds and rare aquatic birds might be disturbed by wind farms but not significantly so; and the rare terrestrial birds were least disturbed by or even benefited from the wind farm.

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We sincerely thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for this manuscript. We also thank Shanshan Chang, Lijuan Chen, Chuangqi Hu, and Yuqiao Hou for their help in our bird survey. We greatly appreciate Nanjing Normal University to support this work.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41671428) and Nanjing Normal University.

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YC contributed to the study conception and design. Data acquisition was performed by YC, YZ, GW, DD, and data analysis was performed by WZ and CT. The original draft was written by YC and YZ reviewed and edited subsequent versions of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yinrui Cheng.

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The article submitted herewith contains the findings of our original research, is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, and is approved by all authors of this manuscript.

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This paper contains findings of our original research. The Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife and IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction were followed during the study. No animal was harmed or captured. No animal or plant samples were taken from the study area. We adhered to the ethical standards in this study and in production of this manuscript.

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Cheng, Y., Zha, Y., Zhang, W. et al. The bird community in a coastal wetland in East China and its spatial responses to a wind farm. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 22, 413–426 (2021).

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