As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Native street trees can boost birds' survival

November 13, 2012 

As native birds continue to lose their homes due to the spread of the Australia's cities, scientists are urging city planners and householders to help save them by planting more Australian trees. 

A world-first study in the Australian national capital shows that the amount of native trees on suburban streets has a big effect on the numbers and types of birds in the area. "We found that suburbs with more than 30 per cent native street trees have 11 per cent more bird species of all types than those with exotic street trees," say Dr Karen Ikin and Professor David Lindenmayer from The ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and The Australian National University. 

"More birds were also found in nature reserves next to the suburbs. This shows that how we manage our urban areas has a significant effect on wildlife in surrounding locations." 

The researchers surveyed 66 bird species at 40 locations across Canberra and grouped native birds by their tolerance of urbanisation. "With the exception of native birds that avoid urban areas, a significantly higher number of bird species – both feral and native – were found in suburbs with more than 30 per cent of Eucalyptus trees," says Dr Ikin. 

"Exotic trees like oak trees, elms and plum trees are the most popular choices in current street tree plans," the researchers say. "While these trees have their benefits, such as providing more sun in the winter or bushfire protection, our study reveals that they may have a negative impact on native birdlife."

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