We compared winter (December, January, and February) and early spring (March and April) bird communities among 4 successional stages that included grassland, shrubsteppe, juniper-shrubsteppe, and old-growth juniper woodland in central Oregon. Birds were surveyed monthly from December through April in 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 using the point count method to estimate relative abundance of birds (individuals · transect−1year−1). We used distance sampling to correct for potential bias in estimating abundance and density among successional stages. A total of 4513 birds (32 species) were detected. Relative abundance of total birds (all species combined) was similar in the juniper-shrubsteppe and old-growth woodland (48.7 and 48.9 individuals · transect−1, respectively) but 6 times greater than in the grassland and shrubsteppe (8.0 and 7.7 individuals · transect−1, respectively) during the 5-month period. Total density of birds was greater in old-growth juniper woodland and juniper-shrubsteppe than in grassland or shrubsteppe. However, median bird species richness in 1998/1999 was highest in grassland and lowest both in shrubsteppe and juniper-shrubsteppe, and in 1999/2000 it was highest in shrubsteppe and lowest in juniper-shrubsteppe and old-growth juniper woodland. American Robins and Townsend's Solitaires were the most abundant species in juniper-shrubsteppe and old-growth juniper woodland during the winter months. Sage Sparrows and Horned Larks were the most abundant species in shrubsteppe during winter, and Horned Larks were most abundant in grasslands during the early spring transition period prior to nesting. Our results indicate that a different suite of species use these successional stages during the nonbreeding season. If avifauna conservation is a part of long-term management goals, a broad range of successional stages should be maintained on the landscape to provide habitat for a variety of avian species throughout the year.
Reinkensmeyer, Daniel P.; Miller, Richard F.; Anthony, Robert G.; Marr, Vern E.; and Duncan, Corinne M.
"Winter and early spring bird communities in grasslands, shrubsteppe, and juniper woodlands in central Oregon,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 68
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol68/iss1/5