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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of 46,160 birds ringed in South African heronries from 1951 through 1987, 481 were subsequently recovered (recovery rate: 1.04%). Most of these birds were ringed in the Western Cape (N = 173), KwaZulu-Natal (N = 142) and Gauteng (N = 106). The age of the recovered birds ranged from 0 to 23 years. Almost two thirds were 0-2 years old, and only 1.2% were 15 years or older. The average age of the recovered birds was 4.9 years (N = 465). The mortality rate was highest in their first and second year (31-36%). Nearly one third of the birds recovered (N = 134) were sick or injured, and 30.6% had been shot. Relatively low mortality, a long life span and relatively low predation pressure may contribute to the great success of the Cattle Egret in colonising various parts of the world. The paper presents the initial state for the likely future evolution of the distribution of the species.