There are precious remnants of Tilio-Carpinetum vegetation in the Nysa Kłodzka Valley near Grodków forming three forests. During the years 2002-2004, the line transect method has been employed to assess dominance of birds breeding in these forests. Three transects were fixed in the forest interior and two transects on the edges along the Nysa Kłodzka river. A total of 63 bird species were recorded, inside the forests - 59, while on the edges - 51 species. Both in the interior and on the edges dominant species constituted 53%. However, species composition in the dominant groups were different. Both in interior and on the edges Fringilla coelebs, Sturnus vulgaris, Phylloscopus collybita and Sylvia atricapilla dominated; in interior forest Parus major, Sitta europaea and Erithacus rubecula were also dominants, while on the edges - Turdus merula and Emberiza citrinella were also in this group. In comparison with natural Tilio-Carpinetum hornbeam forest, the proportion of dominant species in hornbeam forests near Grodków was lower, what is probably the result of the edge effect.
Studies were carried out in 2010 by mean of simplified version of the mapping method. The study area (395 ha) was located close to the city centre. It comprised a mosaic of urbanized habitats, with a clear dominance of green areas, such as parks (41.1 ha), gardens, cemeteries and tree clumps. A total of 48 breeding bird species were recorded in the whole study area. The most common (<25 pairs/100 ha) were Passer domesticus, Passer montanus, Sturnus vulgaris, Parus caeruleus, Parus major, Apus apus and Columba livia. Numerous (7-15 pairs/100 ha) were also the following species: Columba palumbus, Turdus pilaris, Sylvia atricapilla, Serinus serinus, Turdus merula and Pica pica. Insectivorous birds were the most common birds constituting 63.3%, and granivorous -32.6% of all pairs recorded. Most birds nested in tree holes (39.3%), in/on buildings (30.2%) and in trees/shrubs (25.6%). Distribution of breeding pairs of 23 bird species was presented on maps. Population trends for 17 species were documented. Rapid increase in numbers of Turdus pilaris, Corvus cornix and Phoenicurus phoenicurus and decrease of Pica pica were recorded.
In 2010, an attempt was made to quantify bird species breeding in the Opava Mts. and their foothill (c. 135 km2, including c. 40 km2 [31%] of forests). The area is situated in the extreme south of Opole Silesia, SSW Poland. For most non-passerine species, total counts were made for the whole area (distribution of their breeding pairs is shown on maps), while for most passerine species, semi-quantitative studies were conducted. A total of 116 breeding and two probably breeding bird species were recorded. Changes in breeding avifauna of the area during the years 1880-2010 are also analysed based on literature search. A total of 134 breeding bird species were recorded over the 130 years. During the years 1990-2010, decreae in numbers has been evidenced for the following species: Perdix perdix, Tetrastes bonasia, Tyto alba, Athene noctua, Corvus frugilegus, and Nycifraga caryocatactes, In the same period, increase in numbers has been documented for species such as: Accipiter gentilis, Falco tinnunculus, Columba oenas, Jynx torquilla, Dryocopus martius, Picus canus, Picus viridis, Motacilla cinerea, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Saxicola rubicola, Locustella naevia, Locustella fluviatilis, Corvus corax and Corvus cornix. Opava Mts. and its foothills constitute an imporant conservation area. Fifteen species listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive of the E.U. were recorded there, including a sizable population of Ficedula albicollis.
Niemodlin countryside (c. 300 km2) is situated in the south-western part of Opole Silesia, SW Poland. Forests occupy c. 40%, arable grounds – 1/3, and meadows and pastures – 7%. There are 31 fish-ponds with a total diked surface of 663 ha. The paper presents results of field investigations carried out during the years 2002-2007 and an analysis of changes in the breeding avifauna over the last 56 years. During the years 2002-2007, 123 breeding and 11 probably breeding bird species were recorded in this area. During the years 1962-2007 151 species were recorded as breeding residents; and additional five species – as probably breeding resident. The following species were recorded as breeding for the first time in 1962-2007: Haliaeetus albicilla, Larus canus, Motacilla cinerea, Saxicola torquata, Locustella luscinioides, Ficedula albicollis, Corvus corax and Carpodacus erythrinus. In the same period the following species became extinct: Podiceps nigricollis, Anas clypeata, Milvus milvus, and Tringa glareola. The following species increaed in numbers in 1962-2007: Coturnix coturnix, Grus grus, Columba oenas, Apus apus, Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos medius, Motacilla cinerea, Saxicola torquata and Corvus corax. In the same period, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Podiceps cristatus, Podiceps grisegena, Ciconia ciconia, Aythya nyroca, Perdix perdix, Gallinago gallinago, Larus ridibundus, Tyto alba, Alcedo atthis, Picus viridis, Riparia riparia and Corvus cornix decreased in numbers. The areas with the highest concentration of rare and endangered species are postulated to be protected as nature reserves, landscape parks and other spatial forms of nature conservation.
During the years 2002-2010, distribution and numbers of eight bird species were studied in the whole city of Wrocław, SW Poland (293 km2). The estimation for these species are as follow: Streptopelia turtur: 3 breeding pairs, Upupa epops: 1, Cuculus canorus: 49, Emberiza hortulana: 7, Luscinia megarhynchos: 214-286, Phoenicurus phoenicurus: 87-118, Turdus pilaris: 105-150, Hippolais icterina: 136-181. In comparison with 1980‘s and 1990’s, a rapid increase in the numbers P. phoenicurus, and T. pilaris, and a slight increase of L. megarhynchos and Cuculus canorus were documented. T. pilaris began to breed in the city in the end of 1990‘s. The increase may indicate that the habitats in Wrocław improved both in regard to food availability, nesting sites and other environmental requisitions. The increase in the numbers recorded for C. canorus, P. phoe-nicurus, and L. megarhynchos may also be a result of good conditions prevailing in their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa.
Breeding bird community in a densely built-up area (mainly block buildings with abundant trees and shrubs) in the city of Wroclaw (96.8 ha) were compared between the year 1996 and 2009. In 2009, 25 breeding species were recorded. Columba livia and Passer domesticus were eudominants comprising together 60.2% of the bird community, while Apus apus and Passer montanus were dominants (together 11.1%). The most common were granivores (66.8%; 4 species) and insectivores (19.0%, 14 species). In comparison with 1996, the following species have increased in numbers by the year 2009: Columba palumbus, Pica pica, Corvus cornix, Parus caeruleus, Passer montanus, Carduelis chloris, Sylvia atricapilla, Falco tinnunculus and Turdus pilaris; while Corvus monedula, Phoenicurus ochruros, Turdus merula, Fringilla coelebs, Muscicapa striata, Hippolais icterina and Streptopelia decaocto have decreased.
There is a lack of data on the population densities of birds breeding in a mosaic of typical urbanized habitats. This study was undertaken to partly fulfil this gap in our knowledge. Counts were conducted in 2008 by means of simplified territory mapping method in a fragment (1197 ha) of a large Central European city (Wrocław, SW Poland). In total, 50 bird species were breeding in the study area in 2008. The House Sparrow Passer domesticus, Common Swift Apus apus and Rock Dove comprised about 3/5 of all breeding pairs. The other group of species, each one with a density between 6 and 13 pairs per 100 ha, included seven species, namely the Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, House Martin, Delichon urbica, Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, Great Tit, Parus major, Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus, and Jackdaw, Corvus monedula. They comprised together about 1/5. The remaining 40 species nested in a density between 0.1 and 3.5 pairs per 100 ha. The most numerous feeding guild were granivores (53.8%) and insectivores (37.9 %). Birds nesting on buildings comprised together 74 % of all breeding pairs. For a few species (Luscinia megarhynchos, Saxicola torquata, Corvus cornix and Turdus pilaris) an increase in their numbers in the last three decades has been evidenced.
In late autumn 2004, 160 dreys were found in all parks in Wroclaw (N=21 parks), i.e. 2.8 dreys per 10 ha. In the same period, 145 squirrels, grouped in 69 families, were counted in all these parks (1.23 families per 10 ha). The mean group size (including records of single squirrels) was 1.93 (SD = 1.04; N = 157). The density estimate based on this (number of dreys/mean number of dreys per group) shall be 1.40 families per 10 ha, therefore close to the value based on the number of squirrels counted. Squirrels were most common (64% of all squirrels recorded in parks) in largest parks located c. 2-7 km from the city centre. In forests (N = 12), squirrels density was much lower than in parks (0.1-0.3 families per 10 ha).
In 2009, in the Special Protection Area Natura 2000 ‘Grądy Odrzańskie’ in Czernica and Siechnice counties, Wrocław district, 95 breeding bird species were recorded. For 33 of them, maps of distribution of their breeding pairs are presented and for the remaining a relative abundance was estimated based on line transect method. In 2009, the following species were recorded in the study area for the first time: Cygnus olor, Crex crex, Upupa epops, and Picus canus. On the other hand, 11 species recorded in 1978-87 as breeding in the study area (Ciconia nigra, Pernis apivorus, Milvus migrans, Milvus milvus, Falco tinnunculus, Gallinago gallinago, Limosa limosa, Tringa totanus, Riparia riparia, Anthus campestris, Phoenicurus phoenicurus) were not recorded again in 2009. It has been shown that Saxicola torquata, Ficedula albicollis, Corvus corax and Remiz pendulinus have increased in numbers. The following species recorded in 2009 as breeding in the the study area: Cygnus olr, Ciconia ciconia, Circus aeruginosus, Crex crex, Alcedo atthis, Dryocopus martius, Picus canus, Dendrocopos medius, Lulula arborea, Sylvia nisoria, Ficedula albicollis, Lanius collurio and Emberiza hortulana are included in Annex 1 of the Bird Directive.
In Poland, forests comprise 31% of the total surface area, while the lowland coniferous forests comprise 51% of 94 000 km2 afforested areas. The line transect method was employed in 2002 and 2004 to estimate population densities and dominance of all bird species breeding in a selected fragment of such forest (eight transects with 165 sections and 77.7 km in total length). In total, 54 breeding bird species were recorded. The numbers varied between 37 and 44 on the particular transect. The number of breeding pairs per 10 ha varied on each transect from 41.0 to 93.6 (x=64.8; SD=102.22). Shannon’s diversity index varied between 1.2 and 1.4 on particular transects, while Simpson’s diversity index varied between 0.7 and 0.9. Also Pieleau’s evenness index varied slightly between 0.05 and 0.07. In overall, the differences between densities of breeding species on 8 transects were not statistically significant. The Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs was by far the most numerous bird species, recorded as eudominant in all eight transects and present in all 165 sections. The second to the Chaffinch was the Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita; also recorded in all sections and as a dominant in all transects. Three other species, namely the Blackbird Turdus merula, Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla were recorded each one in more than 90% sections (N=165), and on particular transects their dominance varied between 4 and 11%. Residents comprised 57.5% of all breeding pairs. Short-distance migrants were almost twice more common than long-distance migrants. Insectivores were by far the most numerous feeding guild represented 88.9% of all breeding pairs. Overall density, cumulative dominance, diversity and evenness were unexpectedly very similar in this study (managed forest) and in natural primeval lowland coniferous forests of Białowieża.