Structure du paysage et écologie comportementale des oiseaux forestiers en hiver

Authors: Turcotte, Yves
Advisor: Desrochers, André
Abstract: Over the last few decades, many researchers have addressed the impacts of forest loss on forest bird abundance. However, most of these works were conducted during the breeding season. The aim of my research was to document the effects of deforestation on bird populations during winter. Using an experimental approach, I also wanted to assess the effect of behavioral mechanisms potentially affecting population dynamics and spatial distribution of forest birds. Field work was conducted during three winters in Kamouraska County. The structure of 24 landscapes (500-m radius) was described from a satellite image. These landscapes represented a broad gradient of deforestation (forest cover 8–88 %). In half of these landscapes, we provided an unlimited source of food. I evaluated the effects of landscape structure 1) on the spatial distribution of the forest bird community, 2) on the fattening strategies, and 3) the anti-predator behavior of the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Forest integrity (a composite of forest cover and edge density) was positively associated with chickadee abundance and species richness in landscapes that were supplemented. However, in control landscapes, chickadee abundance and species richness tended to decrease with an increase in forest integrity. This suggests that the more forested control landscapes facilitated winter emigration when conditions deteriorated. Conversely in highly deforested and fragmented control landscapes, birds became “gap-locked”. Landscape structure did not affect chickadees’ energetic condition. However, food-supplementation improved it and affected the pattern of daily fattening as well. In the more deforested control landscapes, chickadees showed more willingness and ventured farther into the open despite a likely increase in the risk of predation. However, where ad libitum food was available prior to the experiment, chickadees always remained close to the forest edge, regardless of the level of deforestation.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2005
Open Access Date: 11 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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