A winter's tale: Among-year variation in bird community structure in a southeastern Australian forest

Ralph MAC NALLY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The bird community structure of an undisturbed forest (Olinda State Forest) east of Melbourne, Victoria, varied greatly among the winters of 1993, 1994 and 1995. Increases in the total density of all diurnally active species were as much as 66% between winters [381 versus 633 birds per 50 ha (the density unit used throughout)]. Community structure differed significantly among all three winters, although 1993 and 1994 differed most (1995 was intermediate). One of the striking features was the heterogeneity in patterns among species, families and foraging guilds over the three winters: some taxa (guilds) showed significantly higher densities in the middle year (1993 < 1994 > 1995), others increased monotonically (1993 < 1994 < 1995), while others increased from 1993 to 1994 and maintained those densities in 1995. The species showing significantly higher densities in 1994 were mostly nectarivorous, which seemed to accord with profuse and sustained flowering by Eucalyptus cypellocarpa in 1994 alone. The results are discussed in the context of non-equilibrial community dynamics, large- versus small-scale processes, and the implications of this magnitude of variation in unperturbed forests for environmental monitoring and impact assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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