Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Avian Use of Purple Loosestrife Dominated Habitat Relative to Other Vegetation Types in a Lake Huron Wetland Complex

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1999
Authors:Whitt, MB, Prince, HH, Cox, Jr., RR
Journal:The Wilson Bulletin
Date Published:1999
ISBN Number:00435643
Keywords:Agelaius, Agelaius phoeniceus, Cistothorus, Cistothorus palustris, Cistothorus platensis, Dendroica, Dendroica petechia, Emberizidae, Geothlypis, Geothlypis trichas, Icteridae, Melospiza, Melospiza georgiana, Nannus, Nannus troglodytes, Parulidae, Salicaria, Setophaga, Setophaga petechia, Telmatodytes, Telmatodytes palustris, Trichas, Troglodytes, Troglodytes troglodytes, Troglodytidae, Turdidae, Turdus, Turdus iliacus, Turdus maximus, Turdus merula, Zonotrichia, Zonotrichia georgiana
Abstract:Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), native to Eurasia, is an introduced perennial plant in North American wetlands that displaces other wetland plants. Although not well studied, purple loosestrife is widely believed to have little value as habitat for birds. To examine the value of purple loosestrife as avian breeding habitat, we conducted early, mid-, and late season bird surveys during two years (1994 and 1995) at 258 18-m (0.1 ha) fixed-radius plots in coastal wetlands of Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. We found that loosestrife-dominated habitats had higher avian densities, but lower avian diversities than other vegetation types. The six most commonly observed bird species in all habitats combined were Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), Marsh Wren (C. palustris), Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), Common Yellowthroat (Geothylpis trichas), Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), and Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Swamp Sparrow densities were highest and Marsh Wren densities were lowest in loosestrife dominated habitats. We observed ten breeding species in loosestrife dominated habitats. We conclude that avian use of loosestrife warrants further quantitative investigation because avian use may be higher than is commonly believed.
Short Title:The Wilson Bulletin
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