Impact of flowering on bird community dynamics in some central Victorian eucalypt forests

J.M. Mcgoldrick, R. Mac Nally

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    50 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Many species of Eucalyptus in Australia provide copious amounts of nectar during their reproductive seasons. The nectar is used by many animal species but especially by birds, insects and some bats, which act as pollinators. One of the major features of eucalypt flowering in southern Australia is the patchy, asynchronous flowering of different species, which appears to drive mass nomadism of nectarivorous birds among regions and among habitats. Here we explore whether flowering asynchrony or climate is primarily responsible for the influxes and effluxes of vast numbers of nectarivorous birds in central Victoria, Australia. By using a structured sampling program, we show that winter flowering by red ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa is the most likely agent controlling avian-nectarivore dynamics rather than climatic differences among regions. Densities and species richness of nectarivores, and numbers of nectarivoty events, are all closely related to measures of flowering intensity. However, nonnectarivores, such as insectivores and granivores, show no relationships with either habitat or region. We discuss how dependence on a patchily distributed but highly rewarding resource such as nectar influences population densities and community structure in birds.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-139
    Number of pages15
    JournalEcological Research
    Volume13
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

    Fingerprint

    community dynamics
    flowering
    bird
    nectar
    birds
    nectar feeding
    Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus sideroxylon
    Victoria (Australia)
    insectivore
    insectivores
    habitat
    pollinating insects
    migratory behavior
    habitats
    bat
    pollinator
    Chiroptera
    breeding season
    population density

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Many species of Eucalyptus in Australia provide copious amounts of nectar during their reproductive seasons. The nectar is used by many animal species but especially by birds, insects and some bats, which act as pollinators. One of the major features of eucalypt flowering in southern Australia is the patchy, asynchronous flowering of different species, which appears to drive mass nomadism of nectarivorous birds among regions and among habitats. Here we explore whether flowering asynchrony or climate is primarily responsible for the influxes and effluxes of vast numbers of nectarivorous birds in central Victoria, Australia. By using a structured sampling program, we show that winter flowering by red ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa is the most likely agent controlling avian-nectarivore dynamics rather than climatic differences among regions. Densities and species richness of nectarivores, and numbers of nectarivoty events, are all closely related to measures of flowering intensity. However, nonnectarivores, such as insectivores and granivores, show no relationships with either habitat or region. We discuss how dependence on a patchily distributed but highly rewarding resource such as nectar influences population densities and community structure in birds.",
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    Impact of flowering on bird community dynamics in some central Victorian eucalypt forests. / Mcgoldrick, J.M.; Mac Nally, R.

    In: Ecological Research, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1998, p. 125-139.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

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    AU - Mcgoldrick, J.M.

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    PY - 1998

    Y1 - 1998

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    AB - Many species of Eucalyptus in Australia provide copious amounts of nectar during their reproductive seasons. The nectar is used by many animal species but especially by birds, insects and some bats, which act as pollinators. One of the major features of eucalypt flowering in southern Australia is the patchy, asynchronous flowering of different species, which appears to drive mass nomadism of nectarivorous birds among regions and among habitats. Here we explore whether flowering asynchrony or climate is primarily responsible for the influxes and effluxes of vast numbers of nectarivorous birds in central Victoria, Australia. By using a structured sampling program, we show that winter flowering by red ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa is the most likely agent controlling avian-nectarivore dynamics rather than climatic differences among regions. Densities and species richness of nectarivores, and numbers of nectarivoty events, are all closely related to measures of flowering intensity. However, nonnectarivores, such as insectivores and granivores, show no relationships with either habitat or region. We discuss how dependence on a patchily distributed but highly rewarding resource such as nectar influences population densities and community structure in birds.

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    JO - Ecological Research

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