Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 40/1-4 | 2003 | 84-91

  Nest trees - a limiting factoir for the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) population in Estonia.
Löhmus, A. & Sellis, U.

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Article summary

To assess the role of nest trees as a limiting factor for the Black Stork population in Estonia, we have described 49 nest sites and have explored the availability of potential nest trees in randomly selected plots. Compared with the composition of neighbouring nest stands, the storks strongly preferred to nest on oaks and aspens, followed by pine, and avoided spruce. Our analysis shows that the disproportional use of tree species could be explained by their canopy structure, notably the opportunity to hold a large nest away from the main trunk. On average, the nest trees were 25.6 m high, 120 years old and had a 66-cm diameter at breast height. Different tree species became suitable at different ages. Similarly to the other Baltic countries, nest trees were older than nest stands, showing that older tree retention during forest management practices is important for the species. In a random landscape, 3.5% of forest land contained at least one tree suitable for nest building but, after considering also stand structure and location, only 0.3% of forest land could be listed as suitable. We conclude that the shortage of potantial nest trees is severe enough to limit the Estonian Black Stork population and that sylvicultural managemenent for retaining or creating such trees in forested areas are by far under-used.

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