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Journal Articles Bird Study Year : 2018

Seed depletion and landscape structure affect aggregative response in two wintering passerine birds

Abstract

Capsule: Seed abundance but also seed depletion during winter modifies habitat use and aggregation behaviour of Eurasian Sky Lark Alauda arvensis and Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis. Aims: To investigate the effect of seed abundance on the density of two passerine birds, the Eurasian Sky Larks and the Meadow Pipit, at an agricultural landscape scale during winter. Methods: Bird counts as well as seed density measurements were carried out in winter to quantify the aggregative response of farmland birds to seed abundance from November to March. Results: Seed resources varied by a factor of ten between crop types, but declined so sharply over the winter that seed abundance was low and similar among crop types by late winter. Sky Larks selected for higher seed density plots, but only at the end of winter when the resources were the lowest. Conversely, Meadow Pipits did not show any aggregative response to seed abundance. Conclusion: These results show that an uptake of seed-rich habitats in agricultural landscape would be very beneficial for wintering granivorous birds, by fulfilling the late winter ‘hungry gap’. The inclusion of seed mixtures in habitats that attract high densities of birds and retain seeds until late winter is of primary interest.
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hal-01849633 , version 1 (26-07-2018)

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Thibaut Powolny, Cyril Eraud, Kévin Lerest, Vincent Bretagnolle. Seed depletion and landscape structure affect aggregative response in two wintering passerine birds. Bird Study, 2018, 65 (1), pp.98 - 107. ⟨10.1080/00063657.2017.1414144⟩. ⟨hal-01849633⟩
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