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A Species richness and community composition of passerine birds in suburban Perth: is predation by pet cats the most important factor?

Grayson, J., Calver, M.C. and Lymbery, A. (2007) A Species richness and community composition of passerine birds in suburban Perth: is predation by pet cats the most important factor? In: Lunney, D., Eby, P., Hutchings, P. and Burgin, S., (eds.) Pest or Guest: The Zoology of Overabundance. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia, pp. 195-207.

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    Abstract

    Using data from 57 sites across suburban Perth we tested the influence of Cat Density on species richness and community composition of passerine birds as well as the presence/absence of 15 common passerine species. Cat Density is not a significant predictor of any of the dependent variables. Instead passerine species richness declined with increasing Distance to Bushland and with increasing Housing Density, but increases proportionately with the Size of, Nearest Bushland > 5ha. Together, these predictors explained approximately half the variability in bird species richness (adjusted R2 for the complete data set = 0.414). Passerine community composition was significantly affected by Housing Density, Distance to, and Size of, Nearest Bushland > 5ha. These environmental variables, especially Housing Density, appeared to act principally by their effect on the number of small and medium sized insectivores. Attempts to predict the presence/absence of 15 common passerines did not yield clear results, although Housing Density appeared the most likely predictor. While cat predation might be significant adjacent to remnant bushland or other areas of conservation significance, blaming cats for bird conservation issues in long-established suburbs may be a scapegoat fro high residential densities, inappropriate landscaping at a range of scales or poor conservation of remnant bushland.

    Publication Type: Book Chapter
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
    School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
    Publisher: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
    Publishers Website: http://www.rzsnsw.org.au/
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1022
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