Movement and ranging patterns of the Common Chaffinch in heterogeneous forest landscapes
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The partitioning of production forests into discretely managed forest stands confronts animals with diversity in forest attributes at scales from point-level tree assemblages to distinct forest patches and range-level forest cover. We have investigated the movement and ranging patterns of male Common Chaffinches, Fringilla coelebs, in heterogeneous forest production landscapes during spring and summer in south-western Germany. We radio-tracked a total of 15 adult males, each for up to six days, recording locations at 10-min intervals. We then performed point-level tree surveys at all tracking locations and classified forest stand attributes for the areal covering of birds’ ranges. Movement distances were shortest in beech forest stands and longer in spruce-mixed and non-spruce conifer stands. Movement distances increased with stand age in beech stands but not in others, an effect that was only detectable in a multilevel hierarchical model. We found negligible effects of point-level tree assemblages and temperature on movement distances. Daily range estimates were from 0.01 to 8.0 hectare (median of 0.86 ha) with no evident impact of forest attributes on ranging patterns but considerable intra-individual variation in range sizes over consecutive days. Most daily ranges covered more than one forest stand type. Our results show that forest management impacts the movement behaviour of chaffinches in heterogeneous production forest. Although point-level effects of movement distances are weak compared with stand-level effects in this study, the hierarchical organization of forest is an important aspect to consider when analysing fine-scale movement and might exert more differentiated effects on bird species that are more sensitive to habitat changes than the chaffinch.
© 2014 Kubiczek et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.