Winter Birds in a Developing Pine Plantation

Non-game Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

Winter resources may limit bird populations. In this study we document the winter bird community and assess habitat relationships in a single large loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation (~500 ha) from shortly after establishment into the middle-age closed canopy stage at 16 years. The winter bird community changed as the plantation grass/forb/shrub community gave way to low shrubs, and again as low shrubs were dominated and mostly supplanted by the rapidly growing pine trees. The highest bird abundance (436/km2) and the most species (22) occurred the second year after planting (the first year of the study). After the second year post establishment, the number of species declined and bird abundance declined consistently until about year 10 when pine canopies dominated. From age 10 to 16 years of the plantation, number of bird species was variable and bird abundances were low and variable. Bird species diversity was variable throughout the study.

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