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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2014

  • Title: Resurvey of the birds of Prospect Hill Tract, Harvard Forest, 2013
  • Primary Author: Daniel Steven Cooper (Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.)
  • Abstract:

    I resurveyed the breeding avifauna of the Prospect Hill tract of the Harvard Forest during June 2013, following-up on similar surveys I conducted in June 1993 (Cooper 1993) and June 2011 (Cooper, unpubl. data), which allow for comparison with historical data (e.g., Smith 1948, Hopkins and Hopkins 1970). The 2013 survey consisted of two 10-mintue visits to 75 survey points within the Forest between 17-30 June. All singing (male) birds detected within 50 meters, and 50-100 meters of each point were recorded on visits made between 5:30 AM and 10:30 AM, with 10-15 points sampled per morning. While the data await more rigorous review, most patterns observed in 2011 held in 2013, including the abundance of Ovenbird (Seiurus auricapillus), the ascendancy of Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus) from near non-existence to abundance since 1993, and the continued decline and even extirpation of several hemlock-spruce forest-breeding species, including Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens) and Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia). Oldfield species detected in 2011 were still present in the experimental clearcuts in 2013, including Prairie Warbler, Dendroica discolor, and multiple singing Yellow-throated Vireos (Vireo flavifrons) and two species of cuckoo (Coccyzus spp.) on territory for the first time in 2013 hint at the continuing turnover in the forest bird community at the site.

    Sources cited:

    Cooper, Daniel S. 1993. Birds of the Harvard Forest, Prospect Hill Tract, Petersham, MA, 31 May-11 August, 1993. Unpublished report, with species list archived at Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA.

    Hopkins, Brian and June M. 1970. Some notes on the birds of Harvard Forest. Unpublished report. January 1970.

    Smith, Earl E. 1948. Preliminary list of birds of the Harvard Forest. Unpublished report, Nov. 30, 1948.

  • Research Category: Biodiversity Studies, Conservation and Management, Historical and Retrospective Studies