Winter habitat selection by marsh tits Poecile palustris in a British woodland

Broughton, Richard K.; Bellamy, Paul E.; Hill, Ross A.; Hinsley, Shelley A.. 2014 Winter habitat selection by marsh tits Poecile palustris in a British woodland. Bird Study, 61 (3). 404-412.

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Capsule: Radio-tracking and remote sensing showed Marsh Tits selected for English Oak Quercus robur trees within large winter home-ranges. Aims: To investigate winter habitat selection by Marsh Tits in a British wood, testing for preferences in tree species and woodland structure. Methods: Thirteen Marsh Tits were radio-tracked during the winter, and home-ranges were derived. Lidar and hyperspectral data were used to compare the vegetation structure and tree species composition of entire home-ranges and the core areas of intensive use within. Instantaneous sampling observations provided further information for tree species utilization. Results: The mean home-range was very large (39 ha, n=13). There were no significant differences in mean tree height, canopy closure, understorey height, or shrub volume between full home-ranges and the core areas of use. Core areas contained a significantly greater proportion of English Oak relative to availability in the full home-ranges. Instantaneous sampling confirmed that English Oak was used significantly more than other trees. Conclusion: Selection for English Oak during winter contrasted with previous studies of breeding territories, indicating that habitat usage varies seasonally and demonstrating the need for habitat selection studies throughout the year. Large home-ranges help to explain the Marsh Tit’s sensitivity to habitat fragmentation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 0006-3657
Additional Keywords: marsh tit, lidar, woodland birds, foraging, hyperspectral, Quercus robur, radio-tracking, remote sensing
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 20 Aug 2014 10:00 +0 (UTC)

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