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  • Author: Grzegorz Kopij x
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Abstract

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.

Abstract

Typical, but less common, passerine forest species were selected for this study, such as Lullula arborea, Anthus trivialis, Troglodytes troglodytes, Prunella modularis, Turdus philomelos, Turdus viscivorus, Phylloscopus sibilatrix, Regulus regulus, Regulus ignicapillus, Muscicapa striata, Ficedula albicollis, Ficedula hypoleuca, Parus cristatus, Parus palustris, Parus ater, Certhia familiaris, Certhia brachydactyla, Oriolus oriolus, Garrulus glandarius, and Corvus corax. M. striata and T. philomelos were the most numerous among the 20 investigated species, the former one nested in a density of 6.7 pairs per 100 ha of wooded area, while the later one at 5.1 pairs per 100 ha. Density of most other species was below 3 pairs per 100 ha of wooded area. A. trivialis, P. cristatus and P. modularis were unexpectedly rare (< 1 pair per 100 ha). Otherwise, relatively numerous were T. troglodytes (1.8 p./100 ha), R. regulus (1.8 p./100 ha) and P. palustris (1.4 p./100 ha). P. cristatus, L. arborea, and T. viscivorus were the rarest species investigated (below 0.1 p./100 ha). Several bird species nested in wooded areas only in the outer zone of the city. This group included A. trivialis, R. regulus, P. ater, and C. corax. Population density of T. troglodytes, T. philomelos and O. oriolus were significantly higher in outer than in inner zone, while the reverse was true in the case of M. striata and F. hypoleuca.

Abstract

During the years 1994–2009, the number of White Stork pairs breeding in the city of Wrocław (293 km2) fluctuated between 5 pairs in 1999 and 19 pairs 2004. Most nests were clumped in two sites in the Odra river valley. Two nests were located only cca. 1 km from the city hall. The fluctuations in numbers can be linked to the availability of feeding grounds and weather. In years when grass was mowed in the Odra valley, the number of White Storks was higher than in years when the grass was left unattended. Overall, the mean number of fledglings per successful pair during the years 1995–2009 was slightly higher in the rural than in the urban area. Contrary to expectation, the mean number of fledglings per successful pair was the highest in the year of highest population density. In two rural counties adjacent to Wrocław, the number of breeding pairs was similar to that in the city in 1994/95 (15 vs. 13 pairs). However, in 2004 the number of breeding pairs in the city almost doubled compared to that in the neighboring counties (10 vs. 19 pairs). After a sharp decline between 2004 and 2008, populations in both areas were similar in 2009 (5 vs. 4 pairs), but much lower than in 1994–1995. Wrocław is probably the only large city (>100,000 people) in Poland, where the White Stork has developed a sizeable, although fluctuating, breeding population. One of the most powerful role the city-nesting White Storks may play is their ability to engage directly citizens with nature and facilitate in that way environmental education and awareness.