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Birds sing praises of old-growth trees.

Many bird species are quite attached to their old-growth forest neighborhoods, say researchers who examined bird communities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's mature stands and its second-growth forests.

The mature forests house birds with a wider variety of habitat preferences. Also, species are more evenly divided throughout the old stands, says Ted Simons of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who headed the study.

The researchers counted nine fewer bird species in the old-growth areas than in forests that had gone a round with loggers in the last 50 to 100 years. But in some cases, a species had only one representative in the younger forests. Also, the edges of new stands are more apt to have visitors, such as crows, from nearby "disturbed areas" (human neighborhoods).

Some of the birds that stick to old-growth forests include black-throated blue warblers, Blackburnian warblers, and the solitary vireo. Hooded warblers, oven birds, and red-eyed vireos, among others, prefer the open spaces of logged forests.

The researchers also discovered that the huge snowstorm in March 1993 reduced the numbers of a few second-growth species. Simons and his colleagues presented their data to the National Park Service in January
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Title Annotation:research indicates preference for old growth forests in Great Smoke Mountains National Park by higher number of bird species
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 18, 1994
Previous Article:Global warming has plants on the move.
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