The conservation value of paddock trees for birds in a variegated landscape in southern New South Wales. 1. Species composition and site occupancy patterns
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The use of paddock trees by birds was assessed in a grazinglandscape in southern New South Wales, Australia. Seventy paddock treesites were surveyed for 20 min each in the morning, and 36sites were surveyed again at midday in March 2000. During this time, thepresence and abundance of birds was recorded. Several site and landscapevariables were measured at each site. These included tree species, atree size index, a measure of the crown cover density around the site,and proximity to the nearest woodland patch. During formal surveys, 31bird species, including several woodland species, were observed usingpaddock trees. Data from bird surveys in woodland patches that wereobtained in a separate study in November 1999 were used to comparewhether there was a relationship between the abundance of a given birdspecies in woodland patches and paddock trees. Many birds commonlydetected in woodland patches were also common in paddock trees. However,some birds with special habitat requirements were absent from paddocktrees although they were common in woodland patches. Site occupancypatterns were modelled for several guilds of birds using logisticregression. Foliage-foraging birds were more likely to occupy clumps oftrees and sites with a high tree size index. Nectarivores appeared to bemore likely to be detected at sites more than 200 m fromwoodland, although this result was marginally non-significant(P = 0.08). The probability of detecting granivoreswas higher at sites with a low tree size index. Open country specieswere most likely to occupy large trees and sites that were located morethan 200 m from the nearest woodland patch. The value ofpaddock trees may have been underestimated in the past because a widevariety of bird species use paddock trees on a regular basis. Ensuringthe continued survival of paddock trees should be an important aspect offuture conservation and revegetation efforts.
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