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The structure of western warbler assemblages: Analysis of foraging behavior and habitat selection in Oregon

January 1, 1981

This study examines the foraging behavior and habitat selection of a MacGillivray's (Oporornis tolmiei)-Orange-crowned (Vermivora celata)-Wilson's (Wilsonia pusilla) warbler assemblage that occurred on early-growth clearcuts in western Oregon during breeding. Sites were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of deciduous trees. Density estimates for each species were nearly identical between site classes except for Wilson's, whose density declined on nondeciduous tree sites. Analysis of vegetation parameters within the territories of the species identified deciduous tree cover as the variable of primary importance in the separation of warblers on each site, so that the assemblage could be arranged on a continuum of increasing deciduous tree cover. MacGillivray's and Wilson's extensively used shrub cover and deciduous tree cover, respectively; Orange-crowns were associated with both vegetation types. When the deciduous tree cover was reduced, Orange-crowns concentrated foraging activities in shrub cover and maintained nondisturbance densities. Indices of foraging-height diversity showed a marked decrease after the removal of deciduous trees. All species except MacGillivray's foraged lower in the vegatative substrate on the nondeciduous tree sites; MacGillivray's concentrated foraging activities in the low shrub cover on both sites. Indices of foraging overlap revealed a general pattern of decreased segregation by habitat after removal of deciduous trees. I suggest that the basic patterns of foraging behavior and habitat selection evidenced today in western North America were initially developed by ancestral warblers before their invasion of the west. Species successfully colonizing western habitats were probably preadapted to the conditions they encountered, with new habitats occupied without obvious evolutionary modifications.

Publication Year 1981
Title The structure of western warbler assemblages: Analysis of foraging behavior and habitat selection in Oregon
Authors Michael L. Morrison
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Auk
Index ID 5221668
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center