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Meichtry-Stier K.S.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte | Korner-Nievergelt F.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte | Kormann U.,University of Gottingen | Spiess M.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte | And 4 more authors.
Ornithologische Beobachter | Year: 2013

The decline of Common Whitethroat populations in Switzerland between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s has been mainly attributed to habitat loss and degradation of habitat quality. To improve farmland biodiversity, agri-environment schemes (AES) were introduced in the 1990s. Here, we show optimizations of the AES-types hedgerow and wildflower strip for the Common Whitethroat. We looked at the population trend of the Whitethroat in the region of Grosses Moos on the Swiss plateau. Furthermore, we compared vegetation structure of occupied breeding sites in hedgerows and wildflower strips with similar but unoccupied habitats nearby. Between 2000 and 2006 the number of Whitethroat territories in the Grosses Moos decreased from 115 to 30. This decline was most pronounced in habitats with tall hedgerows, whereas the territory numbers in wildflower strips even increased. Whitethroat territories in hedgerows were positively associated with the presence of brambles and an increasing area of thorny bushes, and negatively with hedgerow cross-section area and margin width. In wildflower strips, territories were positively associated with the presence of tall herbaceous plants. Within agri-environment schemes, conservation measures for the Whitethroat should favour the presence of thorny shrubs and brambles in hedgerows, and the cultivation of wild flower strips with different tall plant species such as Fuller?s Teasel Dipsacus fullonum.


Birrer S.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte | Mosimann-Kampe P.,Mosimann and Strebel | Nuber M.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte | Strebel S.,Mosimann and Strebel | Zbinden N.,Schweizerische Vogelwarte
Ornithologische Beobachter | Year: 2013

From 1997 to 2009 we mapped the rare breeding birds of farmland in the study area «Grosses Moos» (97.77 km2) each year. A total of 24 species was recorded. The populations of six species declined significantly and nine species increased. Ground-nesting birds were most strikingly represented among the declining species while among those nesting in bushes and trees many showed an increase. Regarding migratory behaviour, degree of endangerment and selection of focal and surrogate species for environmental objectives, there was no difference between species with increasing or decreasing populations. Apart from the development in the entire area we were also interested in population trends in seven discrete landscape untis (study sites). While the decreasing species predominated at some study sites, positive trends prevailed in others. These differences correspond with the quantity and quality of the ecological compensation areas at the study sites. This example of Grosses Moos thus shows that with sufficient high-quality ecological compensation areas it is possible to promote rare breeding birds.

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