The effect of road traffic on a breeding community of woodland birds

Polak, Marcin; Wiącek, Jarosław; Kucharczyk, Marek; Orzechowski, Robert
November 2013
European Journal of Forest Research;Nov2013, Vol. 132 Issue 5/6, p931
Academic Journal
The very rapid development of the road infrastructure in recent years has adversely affected the natural environment. The main effects of this have been the loss or deteriorating quality of habitats, the mortality of animals due to collisions with road vehicles, the withdrawal of birds as a result of disturbance and excessive noise in the neighbourhood of roads. In this study, we attempted to define the influence of a busy road on a breeding community of woodland birds. Individuals were counted using the point method at 54 observation points located at three various distances (60, 310, 560 m) from the road. At each point, we determined the habitat parameters and the intensity of noise. In total, 995 individuals of 39 species were recorded on the study plot. This study showed that the area was homogeneous with respect to habitat. The number of birds per point increased with distance from the road. Species diversity was lower near the road. The density of nine common species increased with distance from the road. Great Tit Parus major and Song Thrush Turdus philomelos preferred the neighbourhood of the road, whereas the numbers of the other species were the highest in the middle row of points. The number and species diversity of birds were correlated with the pattern of sound propagation across our study area. Our results showed that the species particularly sensitive to road traffic were those nesting near the ground and with low-frequency calls.


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