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Songbird diversity and movement in upland and riparian habitats in the boreal mixedwood forest of northeastern Ontario

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Little is known about the importance of riparian areas in supporting avifaunal diversity in the boreal mixedwood forest, especially outside of the breeding season. Bird populations were sampled by mist netting 18 upland and 18 riparian sites along six streams in a forested region of northeastern Ontario. Riparian sites generally had more variable vegetation than upland sites. Some riparian sites formed distinctive habitats, while others were structurally and compositionally similar to upland sites. During spring and fall migration, there was no significant difference in bird abundance or species richness between riparian and upland habitats. During the breeding period, riparian areas had greater avian species richness and abundance and more insects than upland forests, suggesting that birds were selecting these habitats because they contain more food. More birds were captured in nets placed perpendicular to the stream than parallel during the breeding and fall migration periods, suggesting that riparian areas may function as movement corridors. A greater understanding of the importance of riparian habitats to songbird communities is needed if we are to maximize the effectiveness of these regions for conserving avian biodiversity in the boreal mixedwood forest.

On sait peut de choses de l'importance des milieux riverains pour le maintien de la diversité de l'avifaune dans la forêt boréale mixte, en particulier en dehors de la saison de reproduction. Les populations d'oiseaux ont été échantillonnées par capture au filet japonais à 18 sites non riverains et 18 sites riverains de six ruisseaux dans une région boisée du nord-est de l'Ontario. Les sites riverains avaient en général une végétation plus variable que les sites non riverains. Certains sites riverains constituaient des habitats distincts tandis que d'autres avaient une structure et une composition semblables à celles des sites non riverains. Durant les migrations de printemps et d'automne, il n'y avait pas de différence significative dans l'abondance ou la richesse spécifique des oiseaux entre les milieux riverains et non riverains. Durant la pariade, la richesse spécifique en oiseaux de même que l'abondance d'oiseaux et d'insectes étaient plus élevées dans les milieux riverains que non riverains, ce qui suggère que les oiseaux choisissaient ces habitats parce qu'ils contiennent plus de nourriture. Durant la pariade et la migration automnale, plus d'oiseaux ont été capturés dans les filets placés perpendiculairement aux ruisseaux que dans ceux placés parallèlement, ce qui suggère que les milieux riverains constituent des corridors de déplacement. Une meilleure compréhension de l'importance des milieux riverains pour les passereaux est nécessaire si on veut maximiser la contribution de ces milieux à la conservation de la biodiversité aviaire de la forêt boréale mixte.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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