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Tryjanowski P.,University of Life Sciences in Poznan | Sparks T.H.,University of Life Sciences in Poznan | Sparks T.H.,TU Munich | Sparks T.H.,Coventry University | And 3 more authors.

Urbanization has a marked effect on the reproduction and other ecological and behavioural traits of many living organisms, including birds. In migrant birds, survival and reproductive output is influenced by the (mis)synchronization of arrival with the availability of resources. Many recent studies have shown that arrival timing is related to temperatures en-route and at destination. Because urban areas are "heat islands", with higher temperatures that influence earlier vegetation and invertebrate development, this should favour earlier arrival of migrant birds to cities rather than to rural areas. In this paper, we analysed differences between urban and rural habitats in mean dates and trends of first arrival dates of 18 species of migratory bird species in western Poland during 1983-2010. For many individual species, and overall, mean first arrival date was significantly earlier in rural areas than in urban areas (significant for 11 species). However, the trend towards earlier first arrival dates was stronger in urban areas for 15 of the 18 species (significantly stronger in four species). Consequently, arrival dates in urban areas are fast approaching, or have now matched or passed those in rural areas. These findings suggest that recent environmental changes may have more rapidly changed the migratory habits of birds occupying urban habitats than those occupying rural habitats. © 2013 Tryjanowski et al. Source

Zduniak P.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Czechowski P.,Institute for Tourism and Recreation | Jedro G.,The Slovinski National Park
Belgian Journal of Zoology

The aim of this study was to discover if atypical nesting places such as abandoned second world war bomb shelters and conditions occurring within, can constitute suitable and good quality alternative habitat for the Barn Swallow. To answer this question, the time of breeding, clutch size and the mean survival probability of nest contents were compared between swallows nesting in shelters and in farm outbuildings - typical nesting habitat. The study showed that bunkers do constitute a suitable and relatively good quality alternative habitat for the Barn Swallow but they are poorer nesting places than pigsties or cowsheds. Mean survival rate of nest contents (eggs/nestlings) was higher in farm outbuildings than in bunkers, but only differences in the first broods were recorded. The results are most probably the effect of different conditions occurring in the two kinds of nesting habitat, especially at the beginning of the breeding season, when the unfavourable weather conditions can negatively influence breeding swallows to a higher degree in bunkers than in outbuildings. Source

Kuczynski L.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Antczak M.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Czechowski P.,Institute for Tourism and Recreation | Grzybek J.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 4 more authors.
Annales Zoologici Fennici

The great grey shrike Lanius excubitor is declining in western Europe but relatively stable, or even increasing populations still exist in central and eastern Europe. It is a medium-sized passerine living in diverse, low-intensity farmland. Being a predatory bird, it is especially susceptible to any changes in farming practices that affect its prey. In this paper, we provide estimates of density, national population size and trends and generate a habitat-use model; information which is all necessary for effective conservation. We used data gathered during 71 censuses made in the years 1978-2005 to document the past and present status of the great grey shrike population in Poland. The mean population density has more than doubled from 4.5 in the early period of the study (1978-1995) to 11.3 pairs/100 km2 in the later period (1996-2005). The habitat use model shows that the great grey shrike avoids intensive arable fields and coniferous forests and prefers areas of extensively used farmland. We estimate the current size of the Polish breeding population to be 22 000-25 000 breeding pairs. Our results show that the Polish breeding population of the great grey shrike is still healthy. This can be attributed to high habitat heterogeneity and fragmentation, a slow rate of change in agricultural landscapes and recent mild winters which have had a positive effect on survival. We believe that our results can help to establish an effective conservation strategy for the species. © Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2010. Source

Tryjanowski P.,University of Life Sciences in Poznan | Sparks T.H.,University of Life Sciences in Poznan | Biadun W.,Catholic University of Lublin | Brauze T.,Nicolaus Copernicus University | And 18 more authors.

Urban development has a marked effect on the ecological and behavioural traits of many living organisms, including birds. In this paper, we analysed differences in the numbers of wintering birds between rural and urban areas in Poland. We also analysed species richness and abundance in relation to longitude, latitude, human population size, and landscape structure. All these parameters were analysed using modern statistical techniques incorporating species detectability. We counted birds in 156 squares (0.25 km2 each) in December 2012 and again in January 2013 in locations in and around 26 urban areas across Poland (in each urban area we surveyed 3 squares and 3 squares in nearby rural areas). The influence of twelve potential environmental variables on species abundance and richness was assessed with Generalized Linear Mixed Models, Principal Components and Detrended Correspondence Analyses. Totals of 72 bird species and 89,710 individual birds were recorded in this study. On average (±SE) 13.3 ± 0.3 species and 288 ± 14 individuals were recorded in each square in each survey. A formal comparison of rural and urban areas revealed that 27 species had a significant preference; 17 to rural areas and 10 to urban areas. Moreover, overall abundance in urban areas was more than double that of rural areas. There was almost a complete separation of rural and urban bird communities. Significantly more birds and more bird species were recorded in January compared to December. We conclude that differences between rural and urban areas in terms of winter conditions and the availability of resources are reflected in different bird communities in the two environments. © 2015 Tryjanowski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Antczak M.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Hromada M.,University of South Bohemia | Czechowski P.,Institute for Tourism and Recreation | Tabor J.,Spala Landscape Park | And 3 more authors.
Acta Ethologica

Innovative behaviours are defined as new behaviour patterns derived by the modification of pre-existing ones. To date, studies of animal innovation have focussed mainly on foraging activity. In this paper, we focussed on the innovative use of a new material-man-made plastic (polypropylene) string-in nest construction by a solitary nesting, territorial species, the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor. An analysis of field data collected during the years 1999-2006 during intensive shrike research in Poland, as well as of nest record cards since 1964, suggests that plastic string has been a very popular nest material since the 1980s. Recently, plastic string was used significantly more often by shrikes living in intensive farmland habitats than by those in more natural meadows. We discuss the possible benefits of the use of plastic string, such as strengthening the nest structure and therefore helping to protect eggs and nestlings from inclement weather conditions, such as strong winds. On the other hand, the use of plastic string has a real cost for breeding Great Grey Shrikes because both adult birds and nestlings may get tangled in it. © 2010 Springer-Verlag and ISPA. Source

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