Breeding Birds of a Central Ohio Woodlot in Response to Succession and Urbanization

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Population densities of breeding birds were surveyed intensively in a formerly grazed 11 ha woodlot near Columbus, Ohio, during 1938-42 and 1979-84. During the years between surveys, canopy cover increased while shrubstory and ground cover were reduced greatly except along two edges. Suburban residential development engulfed most of the surrounding cropland; remaining fields were converted from pasture to intensive cropping (corn, alfalfa, turfgrass). Changes in avifauna generally reflected these environmental changes. Species typical of open understory (e.g. indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea; field sparrow, Spizella pusilla) decreased greatly and were confined to edges, while forest-interior species (e.g. acadian flycatcher, Empidonax virescens; wood thrush, Hylockhla mustelina) increased in numbers. Generalists, forest-edge species often associated with surburban development, also increased (e.g. American robin, Turdus migratorius; northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis). Raptors decreased, along with some cavity-nesting species (e.g. tufted titmouse, Parus bicolor), perhaps in response to reduced availability of nesting sites.


Author Institution: Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v85, n1 (March, 1985), 34-40