Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in Ecology, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan., 1957), pp. 171-174.


Climax vegetation is of particular interest for study since it is the oldest and most stable vegetation of a region and should be expected to have a distinctive complement of animals. The purpose of this investigation was to observe the predilection of birds for stands representing climax plant associations in a remnant of native grassland in southeastern Washington.

The grasslands of this region were rapidly converted from grazing use to wheat production beginning about 65 years ago (Daubenmire 1942) and as a result only a few scattered remnants of native vegetation remain today. Associated with changes in vegetation there have been changes in the animal complement of the region (Buechner 1953; Buss and Dziedzic 1955).

Opportunities to observe birds in native grassland are scarce. Published records on breeding birds in native Festuca idahoeoisis grassland are those of: (1) Wing (1949), (2) Booth (1952) who described the ecological distribution of birds in the grassland areas of the Blue Mountains region of Washington and Oregon but failed to differentiate between the Agropyron and Festuca grassland zones, and (3) Dumas (1950) who also determined the distribution of breeding birds in southeastern Washington and largely followed the classification of vegetation proposed by Daubenmire (1942).

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